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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Bravery award for police officers who ran into burning building to save woman

Three police officers who rushed into a burning building to rescue a woman who had barricaded herself in have again been praised for their bravery.

Becky Fox photo
Becky Fox

Pcs Arthur Carter, Rebecca Fox and Ross Mattinson wrapped wet towels around their heads to protect themselves from the heat and smoke.

They entered the building to search for the 57-year-old woman who they knew was in her bedroom in the supported accommodation in Wood Street, Maryport, where she lived.

The three tried to get into the woman’s room but were driven back by the flames. Firefighters dragged the uninjured woman – fighting – from her blazing bedroom a short time later.

The officers have now been awarded the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner's annual bravery award and will represent the county at the National Police Bravery Awards in October.

They have already received a bravery award from the Chief Constable, following comments made by judge Paul Batty QC at a crown court hearing.

The woman, Maureen Farish, who, psychiatrists say, suffers from learning difficulties and a mental condition that results in “abnormally aggressive and seriously irresponsible behaviour”, was detained indefinitely in a mental hospital “for the protection of the public”.

She had been ruled unfit to enter a plea at court to the charge that she had committed arson where she lived, being reckless as to whether people’s lives were endangered.

The court heard that on January 31, 2011 Farish – one of four women living at the centre – became increasingly agitated and troublesome. Staff sent her upstairs to her second-floor room but once there she started throwing things around and barricaded the stairs with a desk.

The police were called but in the meantime she had set fire to possessions in her room.

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