Citizens' Award Winners 1989
Reginald Joseph Elliott
On 12th October, Mr Elliott, now working part time, was on night shif alone, when suddenly confronted with a six foot tall, muscular man. The assailant backed his demand for the cash takings with a broken milk bottle pointing below Mr Elliott's neck. Mr Elliott succeeded in breaking the attacker's grip on his weapon, and despite a run of punches to the head, forced the man, perhaps 40 years his junior, against a large refrigeration unit. The would-be robber fled empty handed. On New Year's Eve the London born Mr Elliott entered his 69th year.
Mrs Dorothy Fowler of Chelmsford, Essex, garage forecourt attendant/cashier
In the small hours of 17th September, 1987, working alone, Mrs Fowler was confronted by two large youths armed with a hand gun. Slamming and locking the till drawer, she picked up a pick-axe handle from under her counter shouting "You'll get nothing" and adding that security cameras (non-existent) had recorded their identity. As the would-be robbers ran off, Mrs Fowler rang 999. The Essex police were able to arrest 6 men and to charge them with 11 other armed or attempted armed robberies. Four received sentences totaling 27 years. The trial judge described Mrs Fowler as "Utterly courageous". She is an 'old aged pensioner'.
Gerald Hall, partner in Whitecrest Cleaning Services of Halesowen, West Midlands
On 10th August, 1988, working at the High Street branch of Barclays Bank in Birmingham City centre. Mr Hall witnessed two men running into the bank behind a security guard who was carrying a bag containing £5,000 in cash. Despite hearing the guard screaming with pain, Mr Hall grabbed the nearest assailant, only himself to be stabbed in the stomach with a 10" knife. The stabbed guard, John Worwood, died before recovering consciousness, while the life of Mr Hall, who lost 3 litres of blood, was saved in the Major Injuries Clinic of Birmingham Accident Hospital. Mr Hall had unhesitatingly attempted to rescue a fellow citizen at great personal risk.
Alaster McWilliams, taxi driver of Ballymena, Antrim, Northern Ireland
On the night of 29th November, 1987, a 17 year old girl was raped near Broughshane Road. Due to a succession of correct actions actions and initiatives by Mr McWilliams, the Royal Ulster Constabulary was able to attend to the victim and arrest the suspect. It is, in the view of the Chief Constable, that the conviction and sentencing to seven years of the man concerned would never have been achieved without Mr McWilliams' resourcefulness and high degree of public spirit.
Barry Smith, GM, London Gas Board official
On 29th July, 1988, a notorious prison escapee and armed bank robber, who had been on the run for 18 months, was sentenced to a further 21 years' imprisonment at the Old Bailey. His recapture, when attempting to escape with an accomplice by motorcycle after a £35,000 armed raid near Barclays Bank at Kensal Rise in north London, was effected by Mr Smith, aided by Mr Donald Bamford. Despite being shot at point-black range in the chest and twice more in the groin, as sustaining a fractured knee, Mr Smith effected a citizen's arrest.
Walter Robert John Wilkins of West Monkton, Taunton; a former sub postmaster
On 14th January, 1988, Mr Wilkins was covering for a friend at East Reach Sub Post Office. An armed and masked intruder with a sheath knife came in demanding money. Determined that he would protect the property of his friend, Mr Wilkins joined an unequal battle. The intruder forced him to the floor and stamped on his head. However, in the struggle the intruder dropped his knife, which Mr Wilkins then threw across the shop out of his reach. The robber snatched some £200, from the Post Office counter and Mr Wilkins re-engaged him, suffering further assaults. The robber was later arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to 4 years. The Crown Court Judge commended Mr Wilkins for his "tremendous courage and bravery".