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East End says 'thanks' to its crimebusters

PUBLISHED: 22:23 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:08 05 October 2010

Van driver who saved woman from sex attack in street

Van driver who saved woman from sex attack in street

A HAVE-A-GO member of the public who chased a sex attacker a mile through the streets of the East End was the only civilian honoured with 40 police officers and cadets at a Tower of London commendation ceremony on Friday (March 14). Engineer Steve Halverson was recognised for his bravery for catching the sex fiend

Top: cadets Taylor Drew, Jade Pocknell, Jade Lockwood, James Cunningham, Malachey Ejaimike, Joe Ozen, Harry Beackon, Cass Mahoney and Alex Kuya. Left: Det Con Lee McCullough. Right: PCs Paul Minister

A HAVE-A-GO member of the public who chased a sex attacker a mile through the streets of the East End was the only civilian honoured with 40 police officers and cadets at a Tower of London commendation ceremony on Friday (March 14). Engineer Steven Halverson was recognised for his bravery by the Met's Tower Hamlets Police Commander.

Friends and families joined the crime-busters for the ceremony at The Tower, where awards were made for outstanding police work, including catching a dangerous paedophile, preventing a suicide, discovering large amounts of drugs and much under-cover work, as the Advertiser's Victoria Huntley reports:

By Victoria Huntley

HAVE-A-GO STEVE: "I'D DO IT ALL AGAIN"

ENGINEER Steven Halverson was awarded for his bravery in chasing a sex pervert who attacked a woman in broad daylight.

He didn't think twice about chasing the man he saw assault the woman as he drove along The Highway in Shadwell.

The sex fiend grabbed her around the neck from behind and put his hand up her skirt.

Steven leapt out of his van and chased him for more than a mile, pursuing him along The Highway, through a housing estate in Cable Street and into Shadwell Underground station, where he caught him.

"My first thought was 'this is wrong' ... it could have been my missus or my sister," the father-of-two told the Advertiser.

"All I could think was 'stop him' and just kept on running after him."

Another member of the public and station staff at Shadwell helped Steve hold the man until police arrived.

Chief Ins Alastair White told the awards ceremony how, without hesitation, Steve helped the woman, then chased down her attacker.

He even kept up the chase when the sex fiend vaulted the ticket barriers at the station.

Transport staff at first stopped Steve leaping over the barriers in pursuit, then let him through when they realised what had happened.

Steve, an engineer from Southend, recalled: "I didn't think about it at the time, so I suppose I wouldn't think about it if it happened again.

"But I'd do it all over again."

He was presented with a framed certificate by the Met's Tower Hamlets police commander Jerry Savill.

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DETERMINED LEE SNARES DANGEROUS PAEDOPHILE

A DANGEROUS paedophile who kept child porn and scenes of amputation and execution in his flat is behind bars, thanks to the single-minded dedication of East End detective Lee McCullough.

Lee was commended for his investigation which led to the conviction of Francis Knott last year.

Electricians working at Knott's home at Elmsley Point, on Mile End's Leopold Estate, found an indecent image of a naked 10-year-old boy bound and blindfolded. They reported it to Limehouse police station.

Detectives raided Knott's home two days later, where they uncovered hundreds of obscene images. Knott was later convicted on 16 charges and got two-and-a-half years.

"I doubt he'll ever get out," Lee told the Advertiser.

"Knott has to prove he's no longer a danger and I don't think he'll ever be able to do that.

"He showed absolutely no remorse throughout the investigation and even in court. He's still convinced he did nothing wrong."

Lee was awarded a Superintendent's Commendation.

Chief Ins White said: "Without Det Con McCullough's dedication and detective ability, Knott might still be putting innocent children at risk. This is worthy of recognition."

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CARING COPS SAVE ROOFTOP MAN'S LIFE

COOL cops who talked a potential suicide down from a 70ft high rooftop were commended for saving his life.

Officers Paul Minister and Tim Dole were awarded certificates for coaxing the man down last July.

The man had smashed through a window on the seventh floor of a block of flats in Whitechapel to get out onto the roof, then blindfolded himself, held a knife to his throat and threatened to walk off the edge.

"He was in a terrible state and was bleeding a lot from where he had cut himself on the glass," Paul recalled.

"He was obviously on drugs. But he was a completely different person when we managed to get him down, a really nice guy."

But sadly the officers were to learn that the man eventually took his life three months later.

"It's very sad," added Paul. "We tried to get him the help he needed, but he slipped through the net."

Their caring actions at the time, nevertheless, were recognised on Friday.

Chief Ins White said: "They displayed care for a vulnerable member of the public.

"The man's father was relieved they had dealt with him in such a positive way."

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YOUNG CADETS HELP CUT EAST END STREET CRIME

YOUNGSTERS aged 14 to 21 who give up their evenings to help combat the East End's crime and disorder have been awarded for their dedication.

Met Police cadets Taylor Drew, Jade Pocknell, Jade Lockwood, James Cunninham, Malachy Ejaimike, Joe Ozen, Harry Beackon, Cass Mahoney and Alex Kuye give up their time to hand out leaflets to groups of youths congregating in the street.

Chief Ins White said: "Cadets usually meet once a week. But these cadets have given up their time every weekday evening during 'Operation Curb' to help this important exercise.

"They have demonstrated a high level of professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm."

The youngsters are credited with helping bring down street robbery in the East End by more than a quarter last year.

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