Bravery award for Sheffield man who saved life of city police officer in axe attack

Simon Ellis was presented with a bravery award last night
Simon Ellis was presented with a bravery award last night

A Sheffield man who saved the life of a city police officer after an axe attack has been honoured for his bravery.

Simon Ellis, aged 47, risked his own life when he confronted neighbour Nathan Sumner as he was 'swinging a hatchet around wildly' in an attack on PC Lisa Bates.

Sumner, who was detained for 15 years under the Mental Health Act after being found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, attacked PC Bates when she called at his flat in Plowright Close, Gleadless Valley, following a report of a domestic incident.

The PC suffered a fractured skull, broken leg and severe hand injuries in the attack in April 2016, during which she threw herself down a flight of stairs in a desperate bid to escape.

Hero Mr Ellis, who was honoured at a ceremony in London last night, found PC Bates being chased by the axeman before she collapsed as he rained down blows while she screamed for help.

Risking his own life, Mr Ellis - a father of two - confronted Sumner at the same time as another police officer arrived at the scene and diverted the attacker's attention.

Mr Ellis, who then dragged PC Bates to the safety of his flat as Sumner continued his rampage, said he 'did not think twice' about his own safety and would do the same again.

Plagued by nightmares and flashbacks, for which he needs counselling and treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, Mr Ellis said he thinks about the attack daily.

"I am honoured to receive this award and the attack is still very much at the forefront of my mind but I need to now try to move forward so that it isn't what I think about day after day," he said.

"I saw PC bates come stumbling down the stairwell, as though she was falling and trying to run at the same time, before she fell and had Mr Sumner behind her swinging a hatchet around wildly.

"She was laid in the gutter with her hand covered in blood, her skull fractured and her leg broken screaming 'get him off me, don't let him hurt me any more' and words to that effect. She said he was going to kill her and it was fight or flight for me, I just did what I felt was right ."

Mr Ellis, who used PC Bates' police radio to call for help, said: "Without a shadow of a doubt I would do the same again at the drop of a hat. Afterwards people said I had put myself at risk but I believe in the police service and what I did was my way of giving a fraction back for what police officers do for us on a daily basis."

Chief Constable Stephen Watson thanked Mr Ellis for his actions on the night of the attack 'despite the clear risk to his own safety'.

Doncaster man, Daniel Brassett, was also honoured at the award ceremony for protecting a shopkeeper during an armed raid at a store in Adwick Road, Mexborough.

He intervened when he walked into Majeed Stores in August last year and found the shopkeeper was under attack from a man brandishing a gun.

The Good Samaritan 'grabbed the gunman in a bear hug and pulled him away from the shopkeeper, forcing him towards the exit', before he fled empty-handed.

Detectives are still trying to identify the armed robber.

Chf Con Watson said: "This was an outstanding example of bravery in the face of extreme violence and an offender armed with a gun.

"This man chose to run towards danger when others may have run away. Despite the obvious risks from a firearm and the danger of being assaulted, he showed incredible courage, tenacity and public spirit in preventing injury to the shopkeeper and in foiling a nasty robbery."

Another man, Samuel Atkinson, was honoured at the ceremony for saving the life of a man who was threatening to jump from a bridge over the M1 at Barnsley in October.

Mr Atkinson stopped his car and grabbed hold of the suicidal man preventing him from falling, almost being dragged over himself.

Chf Con Watson said: In putting his own life at risk, Samuel not only saved the life of this vulnerable male, but also averted possible disaster and further loss of life on the M1 motorway below."