Home » Civilian Gallantry List: March 2023

Civilian Gallantry List: March 2023

Queen’s Gallantry Medal

Lisa Way, Ayette Bounouri and John Rees (posthumous), for intervening in an armed attack on 5th May 2020.

On 5 May 2020 at around 1:50pm, the assailant made their way to the Co-op store in Penygraig High Street. Inside the store were Lisa Way, Ayette Bounouri and John Rees.

On her way to the store, the assailant attacked a man by stabbing him in the neck; causing him to fall to the ground. He was able to get up and managed to escape. The assailant followed him for a short distance before entering the Co-op, with the knife visible in her hand. Here she approached customers shouting and then attempted to stab a customer in the neck.

John Rees was at the counter and noticed the attack taking place. Without hesitation, he made the decision to go forward and intervene. Ayette Bounouri, who also witnessed the assault, picked up a shopping basket as a means of defence, whilst Mr Rees approached the assailant in an attempt to defuse the situation. Mr Rees took hold of the assailant’s right arm, with which she was holding the knife. Mr Rees then placed himself between the female customer and the assailant, kicking out at the assailant as she approached him with the knife extended in her hand.

The attacker lunged forward, causing Mr Rees to lose his balance and fall backwards. At this point, Lisa Way took hold of the assailant’s hand in an attempt to stop her attack. Mrs Bounouri also tried to help Mr Rees by using the shopping basket to disarm the attacker. Mrs Way and Mrs Bounouri continued to put themselves in harm’s way by trying to distract the assailant. The assailant then turned her actions to Mrs Way in a ferocious and determined attack and tried to stab her several times to the upper part of her body. Mrs Bounouri at this time desperately tried to drag Mr Rees to safety at the rear of the shop. Mr Rees was unable to regain standing.

Mrs Bounouri in a final act of bravery to protect Mr Rees, tried to grab the knife from the assailant but was threatened and forced to back away. At this point Mrs Bounouri would have been fully aware of the ferocity with which the assailant was intent on assaulting people. By their selfless actions, it is without doubt that both Mrs Bounouri and Mrs Way put themselves in harm’s way, in an effort to save Mr Rees’ life.

Steven Gallant, John Crilly, Darryn Frost and Lukasz Koczocik, for their actions during the terrorist attack at the Learning Together event in Fishmongers’ Hall, London on 29th November 2019.

On Friday 29 November 2019, a prison education and rehabilitation programme known as Learning Together, part of Cambridge University, held an event in London to celebrate their fifth anniversary. Former offenders and academics engaged in joint interactive workshops and learning aiming to advance the knowledge and understanding of offender rehabilitation. The event took place at Fishmongers’ Hall, situated on London Bridge, on the north bank of the River Thames. There were around 100 attendees, including convicted offenders, academic professionals and members of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS).

One such attendee attended the event in the morning. During a break in proceedings, he carried out a terrorist attack at the venue resulting in the death of two people.

Just before 2pm, the attacker entered the gentlemen’s toilets on the ground floor of the venue and prepared himself to carry out the attack. He attached a realistic-looking hoax IED or ‘suicide belt’ around his waist, and taped knives to both hands. He then attacked two members of the Learning Together team who later died as a result of their injuries. The attacker carried on with his attack, injuring a further three people.

The attacker was then confronted by four members of the public who were attendees and a member of staff at the venue. John Crilly and Steven Gallant were attendees at the event, Darryn Frost worked for HMPPS and Lukasz Koczocik was employed as a porter at the venue.

Steven Gallant had been upstairs when he heard screams, and immediately ran to the aid of the victims. Gallant confronted the attacker at the bottom of the stairs inside Fishmongers’ Hall. Despite the attacker holding two knives, and displaying a very realistic-looking suicide belt, Gallant stood his ground forcing him to turn around and move towards the reception. Gallant then collected a narwhal tusk from Mr Frost which he used to force the attacker away from the stairs and into the reception area. Had Gallant not stood his ground, the attacker was likely to have gone up to the main conference room, and could have taken more lives. From the reception area, the attacker was then forced by the actions of Gallant, Crilly and Koczocik to make his way out of the building, and onto the street. Mr Gallant followed the attacker along the bridge, pulled him to the floor by his coat and was helped by others to hold him down until Police arrived.

John Crilly also heard screams and ran down the stairs to where the attacker was standing. Firstly he threw a lectern at the attacker, then proceeded to hit him with a chair when he continued an attack on an already injured female. He then picked up a fire extinguisher, and used this to force the attacker away from the stairs, and deter him from attacking people in the main conference room. He then used the extinguisher to force the attacker out of the building and along London Bridge. He pursued the attacker, spraying him with the extinguisher when he turned to attack Steven Gallant. Crilly then helped Gallant once he had pulled the attacker to the floor, using the extinguisher to force the knives from the attacker’s hands, disarming him. This was all with the knowledge he was wearing a very realistic looking suicide belt.

Darryn Frost responded at the sound of screams. He took a narwhal tusk from the wall, ran downstairs and used it to halt the attacker. The attacker then threatened him with the bomb, and said he was waiting for the police. Mr Frost passed the narwhal tusk to Steven Gallant, who was unarmed, and ran back upstairs to get the second tusk. By the time he returned, the attacker had left the venue. Mr Frost joined other attendees pursuing the attacker along London Bridge and helped force the attacker to the ground. He then laid on top of the attacker, restraining him by the wrists until the police arrived. When the armed police repeatedly shouted at Mr Frost to move, he refused as he was preventing the attacker from moving his hands towards the device.

Lucasz Koczocik was downstairs working, and also ran towards the threat posed by the attacker. Using an ornamental spear to defend himself during the struggle, Koczocik was stabbed three times to the hand, arm and shoulder, sustaining serious injuries. He also contributed to forcing the attacker to leave the reception to the venue, at which point he was unable to continue due to the severity of his injuries.

Queen’s Commendation for Bravery

Adam Roberts, for his actions during the terrorist attack at the Learning Together event in Fishmongers’ Hall, London on 29th November 2019.

Adam Roberts was a Prison Officer escorting a prisoner on day release from prison to the Learning Together event at Fishmongers’ Hall on 29th November 2019. He responded to the sounds of screaming and found one of the severely injured victims at the foot of the main stairs. Despite the attacker attacking people around him, he protected the victim and immediately provided emergency first aid, stemming the bleeding, and subsequently provided CPR. Sadly the victim lost their life as a result of their injuries.

Ed Durante and Craig Jones, for rescuing the occupants of a vehicle that crashed and caught fire on the A38 on 21st June 2021.

Whilst off duty driving along the A38, Devon and Somerset FRS Watch Manager and paramedic Ed Durante witnessed a car ahead lose control and collide with the barrier. He stopped to assist, identifying five unconscious passengers and a fire developing within the engine compartment.

Upon opening the driver’s door, flames and smoke had begun to breach the passenger compartment. WM Durante pulled the driver clear of the vehicle onto the road and attempted to rescue the passenger from the front passenger seat; however it was not possible to open the door. Thinking quickly and while the fire was continuing to develop, WM Durante pulled the passenger across the centre console and driver’s seat until she was clear of the vehicle.

During this time FF Craig Jones, also off duty and travelling on the A38, joined the rescue and accessed the rear centre seat to the vehicle pulling a six year old child clear through the off side rear door. Once clear of the burning vehicle FF Jones stayed with the child and rendered urgent first aid.

Having rescued those from the front of the car, WM Durante quickly turned his attention to the rear of the car and with the help of another person, rescued a passenger who was sitting behind the driver’s seat.

With the fire now taking hold of most of the car, WM Durante once again entered the rear seat area and with considerable effort rescued a young man from the far side of the vehicle by releasing the seat belt and pulling him through the vehicle and out of the off side door as this was the only rear door that was able to be opened.

With the assistance of others at the scene, realising the risk posed by the fire and potential of running fuel, WM Durante and FF Jones swiftly moved the casualties away from the vehicle. The car was fully engulfed with flames in a very short space of time and was not extinguished until the first fire appliance arrived, by which time the vehicle was completely destroyed.

Along with off duty medical personnel, WM Durante and FF Jones provided first aid care until the Ambulance Service arrived. A range of injuries were sustained by the casualties, some of which were life changing. Had WM Durante and FF Jones not made such brave and timely interventions, it is highly likely that there would have been fatalities.

Bardha Kola, for rescuing her neighbour from a house fire on 28th January 2020.

On 28 January 2020, Mrs Bardha Kola was alerted to a fire in her neighbour’s house by her husband returning from work. She had a spare key to the house as her neighbour was elderly and physically incapacitated. On approaching the property, she was faced with a large fire in the roof space which had broken through the tiles with parts of the roof collapsing.

Mrs Kola entered the property and searched the smoke-filled property looking for her neighbour, finally locating her in her first-floor bedroom. Mrs Kola woke her neighbour, who had slept through her smoke alarm, lifted her from her bed and carried her to the landing. During this time the fire had intensified further with parts of the ceiling and roof structure collapsing directly above them.

Knowing they were both in immediate danger from the effects of the fire Mrs Kola calmly managed to place her neighbour into the fitted stairlift and descended to the ground floor hallway. Mrs Kola then carried her neighbour through the narrow hallway to her wheelchair and exited the property. Once clear of the property Mrs Kola got her neighbour to a place of safety and remained with her until Emergency Services arrived.

The nature of the fire was so serious that it took a further three hours to bring it under control and fully extinguish it, in this time the roof and first floor including the occupier’s bedroom were mostly destroyed.

PC Mohammed Nadeem, for rescuing a distressed man from the River Irwell on 17th February 2018.

On Saturday 17th February 2018, police received a call of a distressed male on a bridge over the River Irwell. The situation was particularly sensitive as the man, wanting to take his own life, was a veteran in a poor mental state. Several officers were deployed and on arrival the man had jumped into the water and was clearly in difficulty.

PC Nadeem, on seeing the man had gone beneath the water, jumped into the River Irwell to save him. He jumped from an 8-foot drop, wearing body armour and personal safety equipment as there wasn’t time to remove these items in case the man drowned. The water was fast moving, deep and very cold. The man was swimming away from the officer in the direction of an incredibly dangerous weir, as he was intent on drowning.

PC Nadeem caught up with him, grabbed him and dragged him to the side. Both the man and PC Nadeem were suffering the effects of the freezing cold, but nevertheless, due to the difficult egress, PC Nadeem remained in the water with the man until a ladder was lowered down to assist them in getting out.

Kenneth Wood and Rafal Majchrzak, for rescuing a woman from a fatal house fire on 1st January 2019.

On 1st January 2019 at around 2.56 hours a witness dialled 999 to request police assistance in relation to a domestic incident involving other residents at an address in Lincolnshire. The witness then informed the emergency services that the house, which had five occupants at the time, was on fire.

It subsequently became apparent that three people had died as a result of the fire within the premises. Two residents escaped. Investigations confirmed that the fire was caused by a deliberate ignition of petrol which then caused an explosion in an upstairs bedroom.

Kenneth Wood and Rafal Majchrzak approached the house and on seeing a woman inside, tried to kick down the door to try to rescue her. They managed to smash a glass panel adjacent to the door and were able to pull her from the house.

Andrew Lax, for rescuing a motorist from their vehicle following a head on collision on 11th May 2019.

On 11 May 2019, Andrew Lax was driving along in North Yorkshire. An oncoming vehicle was heading towards Mr Lax, on the wrong side of the road. The road had a slight bend which resulted in a head-on collision.

On impact, Mr Lax was left dazed and shocked but managed to exit his vehicle. Without hesitation, he approached the other vehicle which was already alight. He pulled the motorist out of the vehicle through the side window, as the impact of the crash had damaged the door which stopped it from opening. Mr Lax then dragged the motorist to a safe distance shortly before both cars went up in flames. Both cars were destroyed.

If it were not for Mr Lax’s swift actions, the other motorist – who could not attempt to get out of his own burning vehicle due to his injuries – would have lost his life.