A pensioner who came to the rescue of a police officer who was being repeatedly punched in the head has been recognised for ‘outstanding bravery’.

The woman, who is in her 70s, was walking her dog when she came across the attack in Darlington in July 2020.

The pensioner, who does not want to be identified, came across a man attacking two police officers in the town.

She tried to grab the arm of the attacker as he was repeatedly punching one of the officers in the head.

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She then called for back-up using the radio from one of the officers, which had fallen from their body armour.

The man later pleaded guilty to a string of offences, including assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH) and was jailed for six-and-a-half years.

The Northern Echo: Durham Police held its Durham Difference awardsDurham Police held its Durham Difference awards

A second award for outstanding bravery went to a teenager who was just 15 at the time when she became a key witness in a serious stabbing in Shildon.

She had an interaction with the suspect, called the police and provided information which proved vital.

The man also received a jail term for six-and-a-half years.

Both were presented with certificates to recognise their bravery at Durham Constabulary’s Durham Difference Awards last week by Chief Constable Jo Farrell.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Richie Allen, who presented the ceremony, said: “These members of the public richly deserve recognition for their selfless and brave actions.

“They have both shown an instinct to protect and help others without a second thought for their own personal safety.

“I would like to thank them on behalf of Durham Constabulary for what they did.”

Police officers, staff and volunteers were also recognised for the extra mile they have gone to serve the communities of County Durham and Darlington with the special ceremony.

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The presentation evening highlighted dedicated policework from not only the last 12 months, but also those winners from 2019 who had been yet to be presented with their awards due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Nigel Bryson were among those in attendance.

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