Brave Sheffield heroes who foiled knife attacks recognised at police awards ceremony

A pair of heroes who foiled two knife attacks in Sheffield have been honoured for their bravery at a special awards ceremony in London. 

Tom Brearley, 24, of Stocksbridge, and Abi Weigold, 27, from Norton, were both winners at the Police Public Bravery Awards having both put themselves in harm's way to help others.

Abi Weigold collecting the Binney Medal.

Abi Weigold collecting the Binney Medal.

The ceremony honoured those who placed themselves in dangerous situations, carrying out courageous and selfless acts to help protect others, defend their communities, prevent and detect crime and actively assist police. 

Heroic Tom, received the Gold Medal by the National Police Chief’s Council, after he put himself in harm’s way to protect a man who was attacked and stabbed last year.

Just before midnight on Friday, February 3, 2017, a man was attacked by two others, as they demanded money from him while sat in his car to the rear of a pub in Penistone.

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Tom Brearley accepting his Gold Medal

Tom Brearley accepting his Gold Medal

The men then assaulted and threatened the victim, before he escaped in his vehicle, closely followed by his assailants.

This is when Tom – a support worker and former door supervisor – stepped in, attempting to put himself between the victim and the two men.

Unfortunately, one of the men managed to reach the victim, stabbing him twice in the lower back and leaving him with significant injuries. 

Upon seeing this Tom ran across, knocked the attacker over, allowing the victim to seek refuge in the pub.

However, Tom then found himself confronted by both men. One attempted to slash him twice with the knife, but thankfully the blade missed. 

He then ran into the pub for safety and waited for police to arrive. 

The offenders both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to eight and 10 years behind bars respectively.

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After receiving the award, Tom said: “It was amazing, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wasn’t expecting to receive it, you just do what you do and don’t expect to be recognised for it. Most people would turn round and run but I’m stupid.

“I think it comes from years of looking after people. If it happened again, within five minutes I would be there to help.”

Abi also received a Gold Medal for bravely standing between an armed man and a gang who were trying to attack him,

On a Sunday morning in June 2017, Abi – a singer for Royal Caribbean Cruises – was relaxing in her garden at home, when she heard screaming outside. 

When she went to investigate she found a man on the street clutching a knife in one hand with another weapon in the other. 

The man was being attacked by seven men who were throwing rocks at his head and body.

Abi said she could see her neighbours peering through their windows, and despite calling them for help she was left alone.

Instinct kicked in and she decided to step in to help.

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The victim then took an opportunity to run in Abi’s house, as she followed escaping the gang and shutting the door.

She then barricaded them both inside, with the man she had never met before, while the group started trying to smash her windows and doors.

The man had been stabbed, and was bleeding heavily.

Abi said she was firm and took charge of the situation, telling him to respect her whilst he was in her home. 

She then managed to call the police who arrived a short time later, arresting the man.

On being presented at custody, the man recognised that Abi had saved his life, and without her fearlessness and tenacity, it could have been a very different story.

The district judge imposed a hospital order on the offender for the attack.

Speaking of the 20-minute incident, Abi said: “I just reacted. I would still do it again, it was seven against one and I wouldn’t have just stood there and watched it happened. I shouted for help, but nobody came. I wasn't scared I stood between them.”

Abi was also presented with the Binney Medal, which is awarded to the person whose nomination stands out as exceptional above the others.

The Binney Medal is in remembrance of Sir Ralph Binney, a retired naval captain who died while trying to stop an armed robbery.

Abi added: “Once it happened, the police rang me to say thank you and sent flowers which I wasn’t expecting. It was amazing to receive the award, I knew I was coming to get the Gold but I had no idea I won the Binney Award.

"There were around 50 winners, the others were those with amazing stories, some who survived terror attacks. I never thought I’d have won the main award, I’m honoured and still in shock.”

Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Stephen Watson, hosted the awards, on behalf of the NPCC, at London’s Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Hotel.

This year’s award winners included those who risked and, in some cases, lost their lives while trying to save others, people saving others from burning cars and homes, those who foiled and detained armed robbers, and people who stepped in to protect others from violent attacks, often involving weapons.