Police officer who suffered broken collar bone in vicious assault in Milton Keynes receives bravery award
The award is shared by police dog Nemo who was by her side during ordeal
A police officer who suffered horrific injuries including a broken collarbone after being repeatedly punched and attacked by a drunken suspect, has won a Thames Valley Police Federation Bravery Award.
PC Ellen Webster showed incredible courage by continuing to pursue and help arrest the thug who snapped her collarbone in two, knocked out one of her teeth and left her with severe bruising around her eye and mouth.
She shares the award with her Police Dog Nemo who was with her during the late-night incident in Milton Keynes in October 2020,
“It was just instinct,” she said. “Somebody had done something wrong. I thought, I can’t let him get away. And if he had run off and I hadn’t seen him, I’ve then got the tool to go and find him. Namely, Nemo.”
When responding to the call PC Webster’s initial thought was to check on the man’s welfare as residents had reported that appeared to be intoxicated and, if he hadn’t committed any offences, to ensure he could get home safely.
She asked if he needed any help. He relied yes, then before any warning punched her in the face, forcing one of her teeth through her lip.
The punch pushed PC Webster into the side of her van as she managed to push the man away.
As she moved to the back of the van to deploy Nemo, she saw another man looking on carrying what she thought was a weapon, as the first man lunged towards her again.
He missed with his swinging punch before picking up the officer and throwing him over her back on to the concrete, smashing her collar bone.
The man then crouched over and began punching her again before she managed to kick him away. He ran off into an elderly residents’ complex.
Despite the intense pain from her collar bone, PC Webster managed to drag herself to her feet and press her emergency response button. The second man was still nearby, and having lost sight of her assailant, PC Webster realised she couldn’t deploy her police dog in case he went for what could be an innocent bystander.
She then managed to hook Nemo to his lead and went off in pursuit in the direction where the second man had said her attacker had run off to.
The pair then arrived at an alleyway where they could see the man ahead of them. Despite challenging him to stop, he carried on running, but due to her injuries, PC Webster couldn’t let Nemo off his lead, so she had to run alongside him in pursuit.
After challenging him again, the man eventually stopped but turned towards the officer with fists raised, ready to fight. PC Webster then let Nemo go, who grabbed the man by the calf and brought him to the ground. The man then got up and tried to punch PC Webster again.
She then deployed a ‘full can’ of CS spray into the man’s face as he was still refusing to put his arms behind his back to be cuffed. As he put one of his hands out to wipe the spray from his face, PC Webster incredibly managed to get a cuff on him before forcing his shoulder blade back to get him properly under control.
She was then taken for treatment as backup arrived to complete the arrest.
"I had a big bruise on my eye, around my mouth, and my tooth through my lip,” PC Webster said.
“I went for an X-ray, and they’re like, ‘why aren’t you screaming the place down because your collar bone has just broken in half, and the bone is now sitting on the other bone?’
“I think it was the whole adrenaline and whatever, keeping me calm. The man was kept in hospital for a few days because they thought he had COVID, which he didn’t, luckily.
“I just thought he’s not going to stop fighting. Whatever I do, he’s not going to stop fighting. I thought probably at the time and afterwards that if he had a weapon on him or an instrument if he was trying to break into houses, he could have quite easily stabbed me.
“I definitely thought the second person was going to jump in with a metal pole. It transpired he was a witness from one of the houses, and it was an umbrella that he had.
“I’ve had instances before where you’ve been in situations, and everything slows down. But this just was so quick, it didn’t slow down, and it was just manic.”
“It’s nice that Nemo’s been nominated as well, and I’ll take it as a nomination for all the police dogs that I’ve had over the 23 years out of my 30-year career,” PC Webster said.
“We’ve attended loads and loads of incidents where you think if you were going to get nominated, that would be the incident you’re nominated for. So I’ll take this nomination as a win for all of those.”
Marian Avram received a custodial sentence of 22 months for the attack when he appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court on January 8.
Thames Valley Police Federation chairman, Craig O’Leary, said everyone was immensely proud of PC Webster and police dog Nemo.
Mr O'Leary said: “Ellen could see what a danger this man was posing to the local community, and it sadly became clear in a matter of seconds that he was posing quite a severe danger to herself as well.
“No call in policing is routine and this shows how quickly things can escalate and the risks to their safety our colleagues can face.
“What incredible bravery and determination Ellen showed to get the job done, especially considering the pain she must have been in from the horrific assault.
“We’re very proud of her – and of Nemo too of course.”
PC Webster will attend an awards ceremony on September 9, where the overall winner of the Thames Valley Police Federation Bravery Awards will be announced.
The awards are in association with JRM Mortgage Solutions. The hashtag for the event is #TVPFedBravery.