Derbyshire Police Federation

Police Bravery Awards: Courageous cop stopped attacker from choking colleague

2 June 2023

“I couldn’t fail. I needed to stop him, for my colleague's sake and mine.”

A Derbyshire cop has been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award after tackling a man who was choking her colleague during a vicious assault. 

The incident took place when police constables Laura Nicholson and a colleague were called to a report of a domestic property, and upon arrival faced a man and his son, who were immediately aggressive to them.

After being hit over the head by the son, the Constable found himself in a headlock by the dad, who was strangling him. It was then that Laura quickly realised she needed to do whatever she could to stop the attack.

“We walked into the property to find a woman looking distressed. The next thing I know, this man - who we now know is the son - come out of nowhere and hit my colleague over the head with a motorbike helmet. I was hit too,” said Laura, who then used her incapacitant spray to repel the son, before activating her emergency button to call for help.

“The son ran off, but the dad managed to get my colleague held by the throat, in a headlock. I could hear him gurgling, the dad was choking him.”

As well as trying to use her incapacitant spray on the offender, 40-year-old Laura also tried to detain him by hitting him with her baton.

“The spray did absolutely nothing, which was very unusual. It literally had no impact. This guy was a lot stronger than he looked - it was unreal,” continued mother-of-two Laura, who joined Derbyshire Police Force in 2018.

“We then all fell over and the offender was trying to get my baton off me. At this point, I could hear that my colleague was still choking, and the man was also threatening me. If he’s managed to get the baton off me, I think he would've killed me. 

“I decided to try and negotiate with him. I just needed to stop him, not just for my colleague’s sake but mine. I remember thinking, this man might beat us both to death. I couldn’t fail. I suddenly felt very alone and vulnerable.

“Eventually he did let go.”

Having been released from the headlock, the officer eventually came around.

Laura recalled: “We all just stood there, it was the weirdest experience. I just needed everyone to remain still because I knew backup was on its way.

“Back-up eventually arrived - and a lot of them, so they managed to detain the offender properly.”

Laura said it is ‘really nice to be recognised’ at this year’s national Police Bravery Awards, which will take place on Thursday 13 July.


June 2024