Three heroic Ely cops, praised by the victim of a vicious attack in Cherry Hill Park, have received special awards for their professionalism and dedication during a moving ceremony last night (Thursday).
Detective Sergeant John Yore, Detective Constable Peter Ware and Police Constable Alistair McKenzie received a Judges Commendation during the awards ceremony held at Cambridgeshire Constabulary Headquarters, hosted by Chief Constable Alec Wood.
The three cops, all based in East Cambridgeshire, received special praise for their handling of the brutal assault and their tireless work to bring those responsible to justice.
Shortly after 10pm on October 15, 2014, Tony Walton was brutally attacked by two drunken men while walking home alone through Cherry Hill Park to his home.
The Ely architect was left for dead after being robbed of his wedding ring, which has never been recovered.
Following a 10 day trial at King’s Lynn, perpetrators Lee Jones and Sebastian Yellowe were both found guilty of robbery and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.
On July 21, 2015 Jones was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment with a further two years of extended licence and Yellowe to 12 years imprisonment with a further three years of extended licence.
In his sentencing remarks His Honour Judge Bate commended DS Yore for his professionalism in the way in which he oversaw the investigation, DC Ware for his professionalism and his work as the officer in the case and PC McKenzie for his professionalism and for the swift action taken as the first officer on the scene.
Following the sentence, the victim’s family personally wrote to the then police chief Simon Parr, praising the three officers involved in the case.
“The residing HH Judge, Anthony Bate orally commended the police officers in his closing court statement for their exemplary professionalism during the trial, keeping members of the court and the juror safe throughout the proceedings and acknowledging their diligence and modesty.
“We would like to add without hesitation our gratitude to these three ordinary men who are three extraordinary police officers. As a nurse I understand professional duty and care but I have also witnessed in my 28 years of nursing that some nurses extol the very essence of their profession going beyond duty and providing service of excellence. John Yore, Peter Ware and Alistair McKenzie provided that for us and we are truly grateful.”
In the letter, Tony and his wife Angela said that PC McKenzie had been the first officer at the scene, providing her and their son James with incredible support and providing “crucial attention” to Tony, which they believed help save his life.
“Alistair McKenzie remained with us in A&E continuing to collect DNA evidence and generated with ease respect and professional response from the A&E staff. PC McKenzie stayed beyond his duty time with James and I when Tony was transferred to Neuro-critical care, only leaving when our shock subsided and we remain so grateful.”
PC Ware had assisted their family following the attack and “kept smiles on our faces” throughout the nine months following the incident, the family said.
“He reacted to the needs of the investigation and the court with unflinching promptness, keeping court members safe and providing details and evidence that were both the backbone and pivotal to the investigation. An exceptional diligent and loyal team member in the force.”
Meanwhile DS Yore “ensured no mistakes were made and no detail was left out”.
The Waltons finished their heartfelt letter with the words: “Ely Police force are a team that exemplifies the profession and we are lucky and privileged to have known them. Extraordinary officers.”
Chief Constable Alec Wood said: “The awards are a fantastic display of the professionalism, tenacity, bravery and commitment of our officers, staff and volunteers, as well as a wonderful opportunity to recognise the efforts of members of the public who have gone above and beyond to save lives and help officers.
“I am incredibly proud of all of our colleagues across the force and my thanks and congratulations go to each and every one of the recipients for their dedication to protecting the people of Cambridgeshire.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “It is a real honour for me to meet so many outstanding people and highlight the incredible work they do. I would like to extend my congratulations to each and every one of tonight’s recipients. Their achievements are truly humbling and make a huge difference to our communities.”