PC Thomas scales new heights to help woman

PC Rhys Thomas

PC Rhys Thomas - Credit: Archant

A POLICE officer who is scared of heights has been recognised for his part in a cliff-top effort to save the life of a suicidal woman in Sidmouth.

Town-based PC Rhys Thomas and five other colleagues received Devon Commander Commendations for their efforts and bravery on September 26, 2013.

The woman was located on the wrong side of a safety fence, dangerously close to the cliff edge above Jacob’s Ladder beach.

Despite having a genuine fear of heights, PC Thomas spent a considerable amount of time trying to dissuade her from doing anything that may cause her harm.

Sergeant Stuart White, Sergeant Simon Thomson and Detective Constable Michael Laybourne were also present at the scene.


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Despite negotiation attempts, the woman made the decision to jump and fell a considerable distance down the cliff.

PCs Russell Knill and Darius Norton carried out the search for her and found her lying on a ledge, unconscious and seriously injured.

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The officers climbed the unstable cliff face to reach the woman and assisted the coastguard helicopter crew in airlifting her to safety.

Awards were presented at a ceremony last week by Chief Superintendent Paul Davies, commander for Devon, and Superintendent Jim Gale, commander for Exeter, East and Mid Devon.

Supt Gale said: “I am extremely proud of the fantastic work carried out every day by police officers.”

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