LAST week three officers were awarded a Chief Constable’s commendations for their meticulous efforts in investigating a serious assault that left the victim with life changing injuries.
DC Peter Ware, who received the commendation along with PC Alistair McKenzie and DS John Yore, explains what it means to receive the award:
In my 18 years as a police officers I have never dealt with such an impactive case. Not only does the victim have to live with the physical and mental effects of his assault he has also had to move house and can no longer work. And the tragic impact of this hideous crime doesn’t stop there it has also had a long-term effect on his family and friends.
Tony Walton, an architect from Ely, was walking home from a night out with friends in the city when he was randomly attacked and robbed by two men. He suffered serious head injuries which mean he will never regain his full eye sight and at the time we thought he might die. Tony was in hospital for 100 days but still two years and one month on is recovering from the long term effects of his assault.
As the officer in charge it was my responsibility to ensure we found those responsible for this horrendous act and ensure they were brought to justice. I reviewed the incident, evaluated what evidence we had, checked on the victim and his family and looked at all strategies to make swift progress in the investigation.
I organised extensive local enquires which established the offenders movements prior to the robbery that evening, this included tracking down several witnesses. I had traced the offender’s movements from a local pub to the park were the robbery took place. And as far as Bedfordshire where they went after the robbery to buy drugs. I established what had been taken from the victim, which included his wedding ring, and briefed the officers who conducted the searches resulting in some of the victim’s property being found with the offenders.
I worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) early in the investigation explaining what we had as evidence and what we hoped to get and the two offenders were quickly traced and charged.
The family had so much to cope with and I wanted to make sure they were fully aware of our progress in this investigation so I remained in regular contact with them, visiting Tony in hospital several times a week. This contact continued when he was discharged and I worked with him and his family to prepare impact statements for court to describe how Tony’s attack had affected them all.
After a ten day trial at King’s Lynn the jury convicted both defendants of robbery and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. One offender was jailed for 13 years, with a further two years of extended licence, and the other to 12 years imprisonment, with a further three years of extended licence.
This was a violent unprovoked attack which truly shocked the local community. The men got away with small items in monetary value but of great importance to the victim. I only wish that we had been able to find the victim’s wedding ring.
I feel honoured to receive such an award but I must stress it was a whole team effort. I am more pleased that I was part of the team that caught the suspects quickly and helped the victim to recover from the incident. The whole investigation was a great team effort, from the attending officers that administered first aid and secured the scene, the investigation team, the CPS, forensic specialists, search officers and the corporate communications team.
It’s important to listen to the victim as everyone is different and will have different needs and concerns. I hope that we have built confidence and trust in our quick action in locating the suspects and bringing them to justice.
I know it is important to try and make a difference on a daily basis but in this incident I feel that the police truly have made a difference to the victim, his family and the local community.
In this video Angela Walton, Tony’s wife, thanks the officers involved in the case for everything they did following their commendation from His Honour Judge Bate.