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Award for barmaid who helped gunshot victim

Samantha Watson had just served James Hendry at the bar when seconds later he was blasted with a shotgun.

The 21-year-old rushed to his aid, pressing towels against his chest wound as he whispered to her "please don't let me die".

Retired police officer Alex Turner, who first walked the beat in Edinburgh in the 1960s, will also be honoured for tackling an armed robbery at his local post office.

And pensioner Helen Rycroft will also receive a commendation at today's Lothian and Borders Police meritorious awards for helping to save two young children from a devastating fire.

Crime reporter ALAN McEWAN spoke to the trio, who are among 29 officers and 21 members of the public from the Lothians who will pick up awards from Chief Constable David Strang at the event due to be held at Fettes College.

SAMANTHA WATSON had only started work as a barmaid at The Marmion in Captain's Road six days before the fatal shooting on April 22, 2006.

She said: "I was serving James Hendry at the bar when the gunman came in and shot him.

"He crawled over to the pool table then back to the bar and asked me for help. I got some towels and started pressing them over the wound.

"He was staring at me and saying, "please don't let me die".

"He kept looking at me and I tried to reassure him, telling him he was going to be all right.

"My mind had just gone into overdrive. I didn't think about what was happening. I just tried to keep him calm.

"It was about ten or 15 minutes later when the ambulance arrived. I stayed with James while the paramedics treated him."

Ms Watson has never taken a first aid course, but remembered what her mum had told her about treating injuries.

She said: "I knew I had to keep pressure on it to try and stop the flow of blood.

"If I'm honest, I probably thought he wasn't going to make it as there was so much blood.

"I didn't really know James before this happened but his mum came up to thank me when I gave evidence in court. I started crying.

"I still have nightmares about what happened and I never went back to work at The Marmion."

Ms Watson - who lives with her partner Mark Meldrum, 23, and their eight-month-old daughter, Kaydie, in Gilmerton Dykes Crescent - added: "The killer was only a few feet away from me when he opened fire. There were two loud blasts as he shot Alex [McKinnon] and James and everyone started running towards the lounge.

"I felt I had to stay and try to help."

Shotgun killer Jamie Bain, 23, was later sentenced to at least 22 years for shooting to death former boxing champion Mr McKinnon, 32, and attempting to murder Mr Hendry, then 27.

Have-a-go-hero

RETIRED police officer Alex Turner, 63, was walking to the post office on Colinton Mains Drive on September 27 last year to put on his lottery numbers when its alarm went off.

He said: "The culprit ran out and removed a scarf which he had wrapped around his face.

"As he fled I went into the post office and asked the staff if he had just robbed them. The staff said they thought he had a gun.

"I began following him and he started jumping through gardens. I know the area well and managed to follow him on to Colinton Mains Terrace and then Colinton Mains Road.

"A man was working in one of the gardens and I told him to call the police. That must have been five minutes after the robbery.

"I finally caught up with him and managed to detain him. He threatened me and managed to break free so I kept after him. I could tell he was drugged up to the eyeballs.

"The robber went into the grounds of St Mark's Primary School just as several police cars arrived. I was able to direct the officers to find him and they made an arrest."

Mr Turner said his "old instincts" had kicked in immediately when he knew the robbery had taken place and he never hesitated in acting.

He added: "You never thought about the danger when you were a police officer, you just acted.

"I suppose it was the same as an ex-officer. It never leaves you.

Mr Turner added: "I never saw the gun and I thought it was more likely he might pull a knife on me.

"It turned out he had thrown away a replica firearm while I was pursuing him."

The robber had warned postmaster Allan Dourlay, 58, that he would shoot him if he tried to press the alarm.

John Melvin, 47, was later sentenced to 40 months in prison at the High Court in Glasgow for the failed robbery bid.

Mr Turner, who lives in Colinton Mains, joined the then Edinburgh City Police force in 1965.

He stayed with the force when it became Lothian and Borders until his retirement as a constable after 30 years' service in 1995.

He spent the first 25 years of his career walking the beat in Broomhouse while based at Corstorphine police station, with murders, suicides and armed robberies taking place in the area during his service.

Mr Turner and his wife Agnes, 60, a retired home care assistant, with whom he has two children, plan to attend the ceremony on Monday.

He said: "It will be good to see some old faces again.

"I still attend all the reunions and have pals from my days with the police force."

And he jokes: "I'm sure that I'll take some ribbing about not taking it easy during my retirement."

The fire rescuer

PENSIONER Helen Rycroft was to pick up an award today after she rescued two young children from a blazing home.

The fire broke out in a maisonette in Great Junction Street in Leith on the morning of December 10 last year.

Mrs Rycroft, 67, rushed to save the three-year-old girl and one-year-old boy who were stuck inside.

She said: "I looked out the window and could see thick smoke coming from the stairwell. I told my husband to call 999 and went outside.

"I could hear the children screaming from inside. I started thumping on the door and their father opened it. Black smoke rushed straight into my face and I could barely see anything. I stepped inside and told their father to pass me the children, who were hysterical. They were in the kitchen next to the front door. I dragged them out and me and my husband took them to our house."

Mrs Rycroft was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary along with the children and their father, Ronak Singh, for treatment for smoke inhalation.

The two children had accidentally set fire to curtains while playing with matches.

Mrs Rycroft, who is retired , lives with her husband John, 68. They have two daughters.

She said: "It was just an adrenalin rush which pushed me to do it. You don't think about things when it's an emergency.

"I'm just glad no-one was really hurt or died, because it was a devastating fire."

Also receiving awards

Constable Maria Clugston, Constable Mark Coull, Demi Stewart, Emma Jones, and Caitlin Turnbull are all to receive a certificate of commendation from the Royal Humane Society and a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

On a Thursday evening in September last year, Demi Stewart, Emma Jones and Caitlin Turnbull were on Portobello Promenade when they saw a woman wade into the River Forth and disappear.

The three girls had the presence of mind to find the nearest adults and tell them what had happened, and immediately the adults ran to the waters edge, where one of them waded in after the female to try and locate her.

As the adults were rescuing the woman from the water, the three girls made a 999 call for the emergency services to attend, and Constables Clugston and Coull attended immediately.

On arrival at the promenade, they saw the woman being dragged from the water to the shallows of the beach. Without second thought they ran into the water and started to administer CPR. They continued with the CPR undeterred by the fact that the unconscious female was not responding to their efforts, until the Ambulance Service attended.

Although the woman sadly died, the positive actions taken by all these individuals are worthy of recognition. We are therefore pleased to awards them all with a certificate of commendation from the Royal Humane Society, and a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorious Award.

Niaomi Douglas is to receive a certificate of commendation from the Royal Humane Society and a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

The commendable initiative and courage shown by Niaomi Douglas brought her distressed friend to safety on the foreshore of Marine Drive, Edinburgh.

In October last year, Miss Douglas was out walking with her friend when she said she was going to take her life and walked into the water.

Miss Douglas summoned an ambulance and was able to persuade her friend to return to the shore, but suddenly she ran back into the water and began to wade out.

Police attended as Miss Douglas waded out to her friend, who was now waist deep in water.

After some 15 minutes Miss Douglas coaxed her to the shore, where both girls were treated by ambulance services due to the effects of the freezing water.

It was later discovered that her friend had taken about 20 anti-depressant tablets.

Thanks to her selfless reaction, Miss Douglas ensured a safe and prompt conclusion to the incident. We are delighted to award her with a Certificate of Commendation from The Royal Humane Society and a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorious Award.

Ian Nicol, Craig Knott, Jennifer Ashurst, and David Wright, will all receive a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

An Edinburgh grocer and his daughter were helped by two members of the public, as they bravely battled to restrain a man trying to steal the till from their shop.

David Wright is well known by local people who regularly use his shop, Wrights of Comiston. His daughter, Jennifer Ashurst, also works there.

One evening in September last year, a man entered the shop while Mr Wright was in the back office. A short while later, Mrs Ashurst disturbed the man as he attempted to steal the till from behind the counter.

A struggle then took place as Mr Wright and Mrs Ashurst attempted to restrain the man. Mr Wright was pushed to the ground, causing him to hit his head hard on the pavement.

At this time Ian Nicol was driving by in his car and witnessed the struggle. He stopped to help, as did Craig Knott, who was walking by.

Together they managed to restrain the man in an arm lock as he continued to struggle with them, while threatening to pull a dangerous item from his pocket.

The police then arrived and the man was arrested. He was charged with assault and a breach of the peace.

There is no doubt that if it wasn't for the brave actions of all those involved, the man would have managed to escape.

Constable Philip Richards recieves a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

If it had not been for outstanding courage and initiative of Constable Richards, an incident involving two armed men may have had a very different outcome.

In the early hours of one morning in October last year, Constable Richards heard banging noises in the West Main Street area of Armadale.

He attended immediately, as he was aware that the local pharmacy had been broken into the previous evening. On arrival, he found that the pharmacy had again been forcibly entered and although unaccompanied, he entered the premises and found two men.

He ordered them to lie face down on the ground while requesting assistance from other officers. The men co-operated with his instruction and when the other officers arrived, both men were found to be armed with knives.

When initially faced with the two men, Constable Richards' quick thinking and assertiveness gave the impression to the men that he had a colleague close by, which ensured a more serious confrontation was avoided.

Constable Brian Steele, Constable Thomas Murphy, and Constable Steven Lamb recieve a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

A depressed suicidal male who had gone missing was rescued thanks to the calm and reassuring actions of these three officers.

While off duty, Constable Lamb was jogging along the towpath of the Union Canal at the Linn Mill Aquaduct in Broxburn, West Lothian, when he saw a man sitting on the parapet, over the safety rail. He was suspended over a 90ft drop into a gorge, through which runs the River Almond.

Constable Lamb struck up a conversation with the man who gave false details and threatened to jump. Constable Lamb stopped a passing barge, and managed to obtain a mobile phone to alert police.

Constables Steele and Murphy attended at the scene and tried to speak to the man, who initially did not respond. However, Constable Steele managed to gain his trust and struck up a rapport, while Constable Murphy relayed and collated the information supplied by Constable Steele.

It was soon established that the man was a missing person, and Constable Steele managed to persuade him to come off the parapet. However, in doing so his leg gave way and he fell head first into the canal, from where Constables Steele and Murphy rescued him.

Had it not been for Constable Lamb's prompt actions, and the sensitive handling of the situation by Constables Steele and Murphy, there could have been a different outcome.

Had the man made a deliberate attempt to jump it is likely he would have been killed.

None of the officers involved are trained negotiators, yet they managed to persuade the man not to take his own life.

Constable Philip Richards and Constable Colin Neilson recieve a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

In the early hours of a November morning last year, Constable Richards and Constable Neilson were assisting police officers in Bathgate with a number of street disturbances.

At this time, both officers became aware of a man who appeared to be stuck while trying to climb over a metal fence. It quickly became apparent that he had impaled himself on the metal fence spike, and was losing a large amount of blood from the wound.

Both officers immediately tried to support the man, and managed to flag down a passing ambulance. They also summoned other officers to help, while Constable Richards radioed for assistance from the Fire Service After a short time, the man was freed from the metal spike, which allowed his injuries to be treated.

The Ambulance Service have already commended the actions of Constables Richards and Neilson, pointing out that if the man had remained impaled for any length of time, he would have died.

Brian Mulholland recieves a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

In the early hours of a Saturday morning in November last year, a two-car vehicle accident occurred on the M8 eastbound at junction 3A.

As a result of this crash, the driver of one of the vehicles had his leg partially severed.

Mr Mulholland was the first person to arrive at the scene of the incident, and immediately reassured the driver.

Noting that he had lost a lot of blood from his wound, Mr Mulholland removed his own belt and used this as a tourniquet on the man's thigh in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

As a result of Mr Mulholland's quick thinking actions he undoubtedly saved the driver's life, and although he witnessed an extremely disturbing sight, he stayed with the driver until the arrival of the emergency services.

Support driver Kenneth Butler, Isobel Bell, and Carol Ann Henderson a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

All three people acted without hesitation following a fatal vehicle accident outside Armadale Police Station on a November afternoon last year.

Divisional Support Driver Kenneth Butler came into the station and called out that there had been a serious accident, before rushing outside. The only other people in the building were the shift Inspector and the station cleaner Isobel Bell.

On arriving at the scene Mr Butler administered first aid to the seriously injured man, until off-duty nurse Carol Anne Henderson passed by chance.

She took over the first aid and provided essential advice to Mr Butler, who returned to the station where he found old jackets to be used as blankets.

Meanwhile, Mrs Bell calmed those who had been involved in the accident so that attention could be focused on the injured man.

Throughout this difficult ordeal Mr Butler and Mrs Bell acted with care and compassion, while Ms Henderson acted without thought for her own safety in providing first aid to the seriously injured bleeding man.

Jade Chris Wilson and Stephanie Stirling both receive a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

The selfless actions and bravery of these two young ladies ensured that a man who assaulted a woman was brought to justice.

Late one evening in November last year, Jade and Stephanie were walking along a street in Edinburgh when they heard a woman scream for help.

Their attention was drawn to a man who was shouting at the woman, who was extremely distressed.

As the teenagers approached, they saw the man punch her twice on the face. They immediately ran over to the couple and confronted the man, while standing between him and the woman.

They tried to calm him down and told him to go away, but the man turned his aggression on the girls, shouting and swearing at them, which put them in fear of an attack.

However, they stood their ground and hindered the man as he attempted to pull the woman away. By chance, a passing police patrol came across the incident and officers were flagged down. As a result of the girls' evidence, the man was arrested for domestic assault and breach of the peace.

Without their intervention and considerable bravery in standing up to the man who was drunk and far bigger than them, the offence may have been hard to prove.

Anne Sneddon will receive a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

On a December evening last year, in the Stenhouse area of Edinburgh, Constable Cooper and Constable Drylie were involved in a vehicle pursuit.

They were forced to abandon the chase because of the erratic way in which the vehicle was being driven, however the suspect continued driving in the same manner.

He failed to give way at a junction, which resulted in a high-speed collision. The collision brought the vehicle to a halt, and the driver immediately ran away.

Constables Cooper and Drylie arrived at the scene shortly afterwards and made off after the driver.

At the time Mrs Sneddon, who witnessed the collision, saw that the passenger of the offending vehicle was still inside.

With no thought for her own safety, Mrs Sneddon immediately ran over to the vehicle and prevented him from escaping. She stayed with him for some ten minutes while officers searched for the driver.

Both men were later detained If it had not been for the quick thinking and selfless actions of Mrs Sneddon, the passenger would have had ample opportunity to escape.

James Smith, Daniel Glynn, Mark Hogg, and Kevin Bole, recieve a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorius Award

These four men helped subdue a man who attacked police officers at the Royal British Legion in Prestonpans earlier this year.

The officers were investigating an incident where the man had passed on forged 20 notes, but when they tried to search him he started to resist violently.

Without provocation he began punching one of the officers to the face and head, and both officers took hold of the man. He kicked out, dislocating an officer's left shoulder, leaving him defenceless. The other officer tried to keep the man under control but was also punched on his head and body.

This struggle was witnessed by James Smith, Daniel Glynn, Mark Hogg and Kevin Bole who immediately ran over to help.

All four men took hold of the man, which allowed the officer to apply handcuffs. The man tried to escape via an open fire exit, but the officer used a dragging technique to force him to the ground.

The officer was assisted by the Mr Smith, Mr Glynn, Mr Hogg and Mr Bole, who all managed to get him on the ground and subdue him until other officers arrived. During this struggle the man bit Mr Glynn on the hand, which caused bruising and swelling to his finger.

If it had not been for the quick thinking, courageous and tenacious actions of Mr Smith, Mr Glynn, Mr Hogg and Mr Bole this man would have evaded arrest. We are therefore pleased to present all four men with a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorious Award.

Assistance desk supervisor Denise Thomson and operations co-ordinator Marlyn Bird are both to receive a Chief Constable's Commendation

In August 2005 Assistance Desk Supervisor Denise Thomson and Operations Co-ordinator Marlyn Bird seized the initiative and formed the Force Communication Centre Branch Sporting and Recreational Association.

Since then, thanks to their dedication and commitment, the branch has gone from strength to strength and now boasts 250 members.

In the last financial year they have

Raised 1266.97 of funds.

Received grants totalling 1,604.00.

Organised the Force Communication Centre children's party.

Purchased benches for use in the grounds.

Acquired passes for staff to facilitate family outings.

Obtained subscriptions for magazines and newspapers.

These achievements have all been as a direct result of Ms Thomson and Ms Bird's unfailing commitments and continuous hard work.

Their personal contribution in terms of energy, enthusiasm and time is outstanding, and we are delighted to award each with a Chief Constable's Commendation.

Sergeant Ronald Hastings will receive a Chief Constable's Commendation

On a May evening last year a man entered the public counter area at Drylaw Police Station, and told officers he had been stabbed.

Sergeant Hastings, who was on duty in the station, attended along with three other officers.

Sergeant Hastings assessed the situation, saw that the man was bleeding heavily and immediately took control. He issued clear instructions to the officers, which included asking one of them to record details of the man's comments.

Sergeant Hastings, a trained first aider, began to administer first aid to the man, who had a total of three puncture wounds to his abdomen and back, and was bleeding very heavily.

Sergeant Hastings remained calm, and comforted and reassured the male and the other officers while he carried out first aid, stemming the flow of blood whilst awaiting the arrival of the ambulance.

Throughout the incident he remembered the need to preserve evidence while balancing it with the need to administer first aid and preserve life.

The ambulance crew reported that the first aid had been successful in stopping the bleeding from the wounds, and benefited the man who was found to have a collapsed lung. The man has since been operated on and his spleen removed.

It is without doubt that Sergeant Hastings prevented the man from bleeding further, which in all probability would have led to his serious injury or death.

Inspector Jacqueline Gilfillan and Detective Sergeant Alwyn Bell are to receive a Chief Constable's Commendation

Both officers displayed dedication and exemplary standards of performance while working on a project dedicated to protecting children from harm.

In May last year, East Lothian Council was selected to be the first local authority in Scotland to be inspected by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education (HMIe), who were looking at how all agencies perform in protecting children from harm.

The process was to be repeated throughout other local authorities and it was recognised that during this initial inspection, there was an opportunity to reflect all common child protection services delivered across the Lothian and Borders Force area.

Sergeant Gilfillan and Detective Sergeant Bell were selected to research, prepare and present a response which would be presented to East and Midlothian HMIe Inspection teams.

They also provided a force template that would allow all information and files to be easily transferred between divisions.

Both officers attended numerous inter-agency meetings where they demonstrated a clear understanding of this complex issue, and positively promoted the views and service delivered by the Force.

A comprehensive report was prepared by the officers, which was highly commended by the HMIe Inspection team. And at the formal presentation of our records, we were the sole agency where no additional information or clarification was sought.

Sergeant Gilfillan and Detective Sergeant Bell dedicated their time and personal commitment to this project, working long hours and rest days to ensure its successful completion.

Morton Cowie will receive a Chief Constable's Commendation

Mr Cowie is a British Transport Police Constable who showed bravery and selflessness when he intervened during a violent incident.

Constables Carson and Barnard were on duty in the Musselburgh area in June last year when they arrested an abusive man.

He attempted to run off, but was apprehended a short distance away and began to struggle violently.

Constable Barnard was kicked in the face by the man's brother and lost consciousness, leaving Constable Carson to face the situation on his own.

At this point Mr Cowie, who was off-duty at the time, ran from across the street and assisted Constable Carson in restraining one of the men, who continued to lash out at both officers.

Mr Cowie bore the brunt of his aggression, and was punched numerous times to the face and head.

Shortly after, more officers arrived on the scene and the man was arrested. His brother escaped but was later apprehended.

Constable Martin Doyle and constable Lucy Rorison will both receive a Chief Constable's Commendation

In June last year, a man was standing in the driveway of his Edinburgh home with his brother when two men appeared from behind bushes and robbed them at knifepoint.

The two culprits made off with 500, and despite an extensive police search, they could not be traced.

Around 45 minutes later Constables Doyle and Rorison stopped a vehicle in Dalkeith, containing three men, one of whom they recognised as a known thief.

The driver was arrested and the vehicle was searched, uncovering weapons, a mask, gloves and a wallet. The two remaining men were detained.

Following an investigation, it transpired that the wallet belonged to the man who had been robbed earlier in the day.

The men were later arrested for robbery, and as a result of these arrests a number of stolen vehicles were recovered, numerous arrest warrants were executed, and ongoing enquiries into further robberies and bogus official crimes are now in progress.

These results were due entirely to an excellent piece of operational policing by Constables Doyle and Rorison, whose knowledge of local criminals, enthusiasm and commitment is to be commended.

Without their quick thinking and decision-making, a loss of evidence and a protracted enquiry would have occurred and further crimes would have been committed.

Constable Audrey Fraser and Constable Peter Bamford will receive a Chief Constable's Commendation

An aggressive criminal may have evaded justice had it not been for the persistence and determination of these two Constables.

A man was awoken by noises at the rear of his house in East Lothian at around 2am on a July morning last year. He went to investigate, and was confronted by a man who challenged him to a fight.

Constables Fraser and Bamford, who stay in the same street and were off duty, were awoken by this disturbance and both went outside.

Constable Bamford restrained the man to prevent an assault, however the man started kicking and punching out.

The neighbour was punched in the face, and Constable Bamford received numerous blows to the head and body. Constable Fraser assisted and pulled the man to the ground, where he was restrained until police arrived.

It was later established that the man had been engaged in criminal activity that night, including fire raising and theft.

Had it not been for the swift actions of Constables Fraser and Bamford, their neighbour might have suffered a more serious assault.

Constable Stuart Logan is to receive a Chief Constable's Commendation

The determination and professionalism shown by Constable Logan assisted in the capture and detention of two men in Haddington, East Lothian.

On a July morning last year, a woman was at home when she saw a flat bed truck being driven into the yard of a local company and loaded up with metal sheets.

The police were immediately contacted and Constable Logan responded to the call with his colleagues.

On arrival, Constable Logan saw the lorry within the yard near to the compound gate with two men standing next to it. One of the men entered the driver's side door of the truck, while the other walked towards the gate and began to open it.

Suspecting that a theft was taking place, Constable Logan identified himself as a police officer and requested that the man next to the gate remain still.

All of the Constable's colleagues were contacted to make them aware that he believed they were attempting to make off in a vehicle.

He then stood next to driver's side door of the vehicle and asked that the man in the driver seat switch off the engine.

He then reached in through the open window, but became aware that the vehicle was beginning to accelerate rapidly.

Constable Logan believed that he was going to be harmed and attempted to strike the man upon his right arm with his torch in a desperate attempt to prevent him driving off.

The man however accelerated and Constable Logan was struck and dragged a short distance, where he was crushed between the compound gate and the vehicle.

He was then thrown into the air and spun around, before hitting the ground. The collision was so bad that the officer's personal radio and handcuffs were destroyed and his protective stab proof vest was ripped open.

While leaving the compound the vehicle struck the gate causing it to collide with the driver's accomplice, who was also knocked down to the ground.

However the driver sped off and was pursued by Constable Logan's colleagues, who caught him after a short vehicle chase.

Despite Constable Logan's injuries, he got to his feet and detained the other criminal until assistance arrived.

It is clear that without this officer's prompt actions and skills, the two accused would have made good their escape and the theft made difficult to trace.

 
 
 

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