Three Leicestershire officers honoured in Civilian Gallantry List 2021
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Inspirational stories of courage by three Leicestershire officers in Civilian Gallantry List 2021
Three officers from Leicestershire Police are among 12 recipients unveiled today (Saturday 8 May) in the Civilian Gallantry List 2021 for their acts of heroism.
The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is awarded to Sergeant Michael Hooper and PC Stephen Quartermain for their attempted rescue of five people following a helicopter crash at the Leicester City Football Club stadium in 2018. Both officers put themselves at huge risk trying to save those on board, sustaining serious burns and smoke inhalation as the helicopter became engulfed by flames. Tragically, they were unable to save the five people inside – the football club’s owner and chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha; two of his staff, the pilot and another crew member.
PS Michael Hooper said: “I feel incredibly honoured and proud to have been nominated for this award. Whilst it was extraordinary circumstances and something that no police officer would ever want to face in their entire career; I know that we only acted instinctively; how any other officer from across the country would have reacted.”
PC Stephen Quartermain said: “When I found out about the nomination I was shocked. It feels quite surreal, however I am honoured and humbled.”
Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, Simon Cole QPM, said: “Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who lost their lives on that tragic day at Leicester’s beloved football ground. Lots of people were very brave that day but both Mike and Steve showed true heroism; acting on their instincts and risking their own lives to try and save others. It is a great honour that they are being recognised in this way – an honour they both deserve. I am extremely proud of them and everyone who responded on the day and the days following the tragedy.”
The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery is awarded to Sergeant Shaun Randall. Shaun, who was a PC at the time, was on duty with colleagues in February 2018 when a building on Hinckley Road exploded. The blast was so strong they thought something had hit their car. Without hesitation or concern for their own safety they rushed to the scene and were faced with a significant scene of devastation and destruction. Shaun acted selflessly and at great personal risk. When it became apparent that the fire was spreading he crawled into the rubble and managed to pull a young man to safety before the fire took hold. He undoubtedly saved his life and that of others thanks to his actions.
Sadly, five people died that day; Mary Ragoobeer, her two sons Shane and Sean and Shane's girlfriend Leah Reek. Shopkeeper Viktorija Ljevleva, who was the girlfriend of one of the men who planned the explosion, was also killed.
Three men were subsequently found guilty of their murder at the trial.
Sergeant Randall said: “I am truly honoured and humbled to receive this award for bravery at such a sad and tragic event in which people needlessly lost their lives.”
Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, Simon Cole QPM, said: “What Shaun did on the day of the explosion went above and beyond the call of duty and his immediate actions undoubtedly saved lives. He put his own life at risk arriving at the scene only minutes after the explosion and showed true heroism and bravery. I am very proud of him and everyone who reacted so professionally to such a tragic incident. Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who lost their lives on that day.”
Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s current Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “The courage and selflessness of all these officers is inspiring. They put aside any considerations for their own safety in a bid to save lives and it is fitting that their actions have been recognised in this way.
“Both of these dreadful incidents will be etched in all our minds for many years to come and my thoughts remain with all those who lost loved ones. I think it’s fair to say that without the actions of these officers the toll could have been even higher. Today’s awards highlight the extremes that officers go to in order to save lives and keep people safe. We must never take that for granted.”
Out of respect for all the families and friends of those who sadly died in both these tragedies the officers will not be doing any further publicity or interviews.