Murder police officers honoured

The dedication and bravery of Norfolk police officers - including the team which brought three brutal murderers to justice - was recognised last night.

The dedication and bravery of Norfolk police officers - including the team which brought three brutal murderers to justice - was recognised last night.

The 10-strong team involved in Operation Mellor, the inquiry launched after Great Yarmouth teenager Simon Everitt was tied to a tree and burnt alive, were among those honoured at the force's latest commendation ceremony.

Officers who helped bring paedophile Hemsby youth leader Henry Day to justice were also honoured.

Acting chief constable Ian Learmonth said: “Such awards clearly demonstrate the bravery shown by Norfolk's police officers and police staff who sometimes have to take extraordinary actions in their everyday role to ensure the public are kept safe from harm.

“I also commend those who have also shown immense courage in the face of great danger as well as those officers, staff and partner agencies who have shown great professionalism in the course of their duties.”

The event took place last night at The Great Hospital in Norwich. In total 12 officers, one PCSO, nine members of police staff, a crown prosecutor and a coroner's officer were honoured.

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A spokesman said: “Operation Mellor was one of the most horrifying murders to have been committed in Norfolk, and one which led to a great deal of interest in the national media.

“The scenario that was presented to the team was that the victim had been assaulted, placed in the boot of a car, driven to a remote location where he was tied to a tree before being made to drink petrol and then set alight.

“The initial investigation led to the arrest of three suspects on suspicion of murder, but the body of the victim could not be found and the victim's family believed him still to be alive.

“Through the professionalism and tenacity of the officers involved, further evidence was found which led to the suspects being rearrested. Their skilled interviewing led to the deposition site being identified and the recovery of the victim's body. At this point, the Crime Scene Investigators came into their own, displaying incredible resilience and commitment in dealing with the deceased.”

Chief constable's commendations were awarded to the team made up of: Det Sgt Andy Lovick, Det Con Ian Abel, Julian Revitt-Smith, John Eglen, Paul Palmer, Peter Bourne, Hannah Burrows, communications officer Jon Dack and prosecutor Lori Tucker.

Det Insp Debbie Gunnill, Det Con Mike Proctor and Det Sgt Alison McCullough also received commendations for their work in the investigation in Henry Day's abuse of young members of the Hemsby-based Young Citizens Guild. Day is currently serving 13 years behind bars after being convicted of 20 counts of sexual offences against boys and one of perverting the course of justice.

Other commendations were awarded to:

PC Woodrow King and PC Matthew Gates were commended for their involvement in an incident at Morley St Botolph in August. They had been called to reports of a man who had self harmed. When he attempted to jump from the window of his house, they saved him by using their bodies to cushion his fall. He suffered minor injuries.

PCSO Heather Wright was commended for her tireless work to help rehabilitate a family who had been involved in anti-social behaviour in Yarmouth.

PC George Healy, and three colleagues who wished to remain anonymous, were commended for rescuing a suicidal man who jumped into the River Yare at Yarmouth.

Coroner's commendations were given to PC Simon Hall and Robin Adams for there involvement in the tragedy when school coaches from Norwich School and Thomas Mills High School, Framlingham, collided, killing a schoolboy, a teacher and a coach driver.

PC Woodrow King and PC George Healey received coroner's commendations for their work on a particularly traumatic inquest in Yarmouth involving a family whose 17-year-old son died in a collision involving a double deck bus.