Citizens' Award Winners 1992
The Rt Hon Caroline Anne Cox, Baroness Cox of Queensbury
In the sixteen months from May 1991 to August 1992, Lady Cox has made nine humanitarian missions to the blockaded Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijan. In an internecine war of indescribable atrocity, brutality and ruthlessness, she has worked in the front line as a nurse, a Christian and an international observer with a small group from Christian Solidarity International and the Andrei Sakharov Foundation. All those who seek to enter what is left of the devastated enclave brave heat-seeking missiles, barrages from GRAD missile launchers and sniper fire. In bringing in anesthetics and pain-killing drugs, of which they are totally bereft, she and her fellow workers have repeatedly and narrowly escaped death themselves. But for the indomitable courage of those and those who work with her, our troublous world would have much preferred to have been able to ignore this abiding human tragedy inside the former Soviet Union.
On 6th December, 1991, Sean John Fuller, a student at Aston University, arrived at a bus stop on Corporation Street, near to Aston Road, and chanced upon an unprovoked, brutal robbery being perpetrated by two men on a helpless third man who had been dragged onto a grass embankment. The attackers, one of whom shouted "Kill him", were driven off by Mr Fuller who held up his bus pass and shouted "Special". The victim had been robbed of his watch and £10, and had been repeatedly kicked and struck in the face with a house brick and thereby rendered unconscious. But for Mr Fuller's intervention, the victim might well have died from this continuing assault or from lying unconscious in a temperature of 25F or -4c. Neither of these brutal assailants was arrested.
Jeremy Holmes, a company director of Ilkley, West Yorkshire was being served at the Great Horton Road branch of Barclay's Bank on Thursday, 18th April, 1991, when a man in black gloves and a full faced crash helmet, placed an imitation Browning pistol to the side of his head. Two female tellers were ordered to fill up the robber's two carrier bags with bank notes. The masked man cocked his gun, barking at the shocked girls, 'Fill them or he gets it'. Immediately the man left the bank with £1,994, Mr Holmes ran out to his car to chase the robber who was mounted on a green Kawasaki motorcycle. Mr Holmes gave the police a running commentary on his mobile car phone, with the details of the registration number and movements of the fleeing robber. On reaching Ternington Court, Mr Holmes rammed the robber, knocking him off his motorcycle. The man now tried to retrieve bundles of banknotes which had spilled onto the road, while pointing his gun at Mr Holmes, who ducked down and reversed his car at the man. As the robber fled on foot, Mr Holmes reclaimed £1,250 to return to the bank.
On 24th April, 1991, Gerald Kirlew, then working as a family chauffeur in Kensington, W14, was confronted by two powerfully built men armed with what appeared to be an automatic hand gun. Although seized by the throat, with the gun held to his head and after being beaten about the face and head, Mr Kirlew refused to divulge the location of the safe. Threatened with 'kneecapping' he replied "I need only one leg to drive". This unsettled the robbers who dragged Mr Kirlew into the main bedroom where, with the help of the maid, Miss Corazon Batongbacal, he managed to break free. Three police officers, summoned by his employer's wife, arrived just as the robbers broke out of the house. After a chase on foot, during which Mr Kirlew disarmed his assailant, both men were arrested. A large amount of jewellery was recovered and in September 1991 the robbers were sentenced to eight and seven years in prison. The gun turned out to be an unloaded air pistol.
Mrs Jennifer Saunders
On 25th April, 1991, Mrs Saunders, sub postmistress at Castletown, Isle of Man, was confronted, after closing time, by a man with a stocking over his head carrying a sawn-off shotgun. Producing a bin liner, he ordered Mrs Saunders to fill it up with money. This she did, very slowly, despite being prodded with the gun and exhorted to hurry up. Whilst her legs were being bound with Sellotape and flex she noted that blonde tips of her assailant's hair poked through the stocking mask. She grabbed the gun from the man with both hands and a cartridge fell to the ground. This she slid under under body. The now yelling robber wrested back the gun and left, but Mrs Saunders broke free from the flex binding and hit the alarm button. Two days later the police held an identity parade at which she identified her attacker, who received seven years for assault and for the attempted robbery of £34,528. Mrs Saunders courage was commended by the Deemster, or trial judge, and indeed by the convicted man himself. This was the island's first ever post office armed holdup.
John Ward & Mrs Janet Ward
On 10th September, 1988, John and Janet Ward of Brockley, Suffolk, received word from Kenya that their daughter, Julie Ann Ward, was missing. It soon became apparent that she had been killed in the Masai Mara Game Reserve Park. Despite the determination of the authorities to hush up this wretched crime, doubtless in the interests of tourism and non-judicial considerations, the Wards were determined that the killers should be brought to justice. They made more than thirty visits to Kenya, collecting evidence and engaging in endless interviews and enquiries, before the trial which they secured began in Nairobi on 7th February, 1992. The process, estimated to last three weeks, dragged on until 29th June, 1992, the Wards attending every trial day. In the absence of any official transcript, Janet Ward used her skills to record every word of the protracted process. The Wards are acclaimed for their sustained steadfastness in pursuing, in a hostile environment, a course of justice for the rule of law. Their devotion and courage provided for the short life of their beloved daughter a lasting and worldwide memorial.