Blazing car heroes rewarded

A HEROIC policeman and two fearless Ipswich men were today set to receive honours for their bravery after they pulled three people clear of their burning cars.

A HEROIC policeman and two fearless Ipswich men were today set to receive honours for their bravery after they pulled three people clear of their burning cars.

Suffolk policeman Pc Stewart McIlroy is being honoured alongside David Alberto and Terence Mizen for their incredible bravery after a car crash near Nacton.

The Ipswich trio were among the guests at a ceremony held in London by the Royal Humane Society where HRH Princess Alexandra, the society's president, was due to present them with their awards.

Pc McIlroy was awarded one of the society's bronze medals, while Mr Alberto and Mr Mizen were awarded Testimonials on Vellum. The bravery honours came more than two years after the men faced a potentially deadly situation on the A1156.

Pc McIlroy had been pursuing disqualified driver James Ratcliffe on January 13, 2006 after spotting him driving along the A14.

When Ratcliffe failed to stop at the junction of the A1156 and the Nacton village turn-off his Vauxhall Calibra crashed into a Seat Alhambra driven by 59-year-old Robert Parker, causing both vehicles to burst into flames.

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Pc McIlroy saw the crash and leapt into action, first working to free Mr Parker from his burning car and then turning his attention to Ratcliffe's car.

He said: “I looked over at Mr Ratclifffe's car and saw he had suffered quite a heavy impact on the driver's side.

“I went to the passenger side and saw his girlfriend had suffered a shattered knee cap. I lifted her out from the car.”

Pc McIlroy then reached across inside the vehicle to free Ratcliffe's badly injured legs. Mr Alberto and Mr Mizen then helped to drag 23-year-old Ratcliffe, who was later given a suspended sentence and a five year driving ban, from the vehicle.

Pc McIlroy, also named as winner of the society's Police Medal 2007, added: “Many other people present at the scene made dealing with the whole incident much smoother. I'm very pleased to see that members of the public do put themselves out to assist us.”

Dick Wilson, Royal Humane Society secretary, said: “Pc McIlroy, Mr Mizen and Mr Alberto thoroughly deserve their awards.”

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