A pair of off-duty officers who confronted a murderer who had just stabbed his neighbour to death before setting out to kill another have been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards 2023.
On October 5 2021, in Walton Cardiff, Gloucestershire, a man brutally murdered his neighbour, Matthew Boorman, following a long-running dispute between the man and his neighbours.
Mr Boorman was killed on his own front lawn, stabbed 27 times by the man. His wife Sarah was also injured in the attack.
Police Sergeant Steve Wilkinson was nearby and off-duty at the time of the incident.
Hearing a disturbance, he approached to see the attacker standing over the now fatally injured Mr Boorman.
With no protective equipment, Sgt Wilkinson picked up a nearby piece of wood to defend himself as he courageously challenged the man to drive him away, preventing any further injury to Mrs Boorman.
Still armed with a large kitchen knife, the man then stormed over to another neighbour’s house. Having witnessed what the attacker was capable of, Sgt Wilkinson knew more lives were in danger, so made the selfless choice to pursue him while repeatedly calling for him to stop and put the knife down as he was heading for the back garden.
The man quickly forced his way into the house of Peter Marsden, attacking him and stabbing him eight times. Sgt Wilkinson rushed towards the struggle, hitting the man with the wood to get him to back off which was successful, before instructing Mr Marsden to lock the door.
Putting his life on the line, Sgt Wilkinson was also attacked with the knife as he intervened to save Mr Marsden, but thankfully he was not injured.
Fortunately, he was soon joined by his friend and colleague PC Josh Norris – also off-duty - who was nearby. Between the two of them, and with help from members of the community, they were able to contain the man until uniformed colleagues arrived to make an arrest.
In June 2022, at Bristol Crown Court, the attacker was found guilty of murder, attempted murder and wounding and was sentenced to 38 years in prison.
Gloucestershire Police Federation Chair Stephen James said: “The actions of Josh and Steve on that day truly exemplify what these awards are all about. Police officers, whether on duty or not, putting themselves in danger’s way to protect others.
“Steve and Josh knew the man just killed someone. They knew he was still armed and yet they still put their own lives on the line to stop him, knowing that if they didn’t, he could kill someone else.
“That is utterly selfless and staggeringly brave, and we should all be incredibly proud of them.”
Chief Constable Rod Hansen said: “I am so proud of Steve and Josh for what they did on that terrible day.
“It’s impossible to do justice to their actions but they sum up the very best in public service.
“Their quick thinking, selflessness and immense bravery undoubtedly prevented further loss of life during a most horrific situation.
“Steve and Josh don’t consider themselves heroes and will rightly always ask people to keep what happened to Matthew Boorman and Peter Marsden at the forefront of their minds.
“But it’s also important that we hold fast to their actions that day, and those of local residents, paramedics and family members. They remind us of humanity’s capacity for good, even in the face of such depravity.”