How plucky Pc calmed angry crowd

POLICEWOMAN Becky Gooch diffused a potential flashpoint as angry crowds gathered as drunken driver Peter Whalley stepped from his car.Teenager Vicki Kelcher lay stricken and screaming in agony, pinned against a wall and her abdomen crushed by Whalley's X-reg Mercedes, which had smashed into her as she walked along the pavement.

By Richard Cornwell

POLICEWOMAN Becky Gooch

diffused a potential flashpoint as angry crowds gathered when drunken driver Peter Whalley stepped from his car.

Teenager Vicki Kelcher lay stricken and screaming in agony, pinned against a wall and her abdomen crushed by Whalley's X-reg Mercedes, which had smashed into her as she walked along the pavement.

Within minutes of the crash, people spilled on to the streets – making their way up from the seafront into Garrison Lane, alerted by the noise of the accident and the sound of sirens.

Pc Gooch, first officer on the scene, could see that a difficult situation might develop as people were clearly angry and upset with Whalley, a well-known businessman and licensee.

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Her first priority was 16-year-old Vicki, who had suffered a crushed pelvis and a broken leg, but she could also see that the crowd was going to cause

problems.

"Pc Gooch acted quickly to get the crowd on her side and give them something positive into which they could channel their energy," said Insp Andy Bushell, commanding officer for Felixstowe police.

"They were very angry with Peter Whalley, but she got them to help lift and pull his car off Vicki so that the medical people could attend to her injuries."

Meanwhile, Pc Gooch arranged for other officers to remove Whalley from the scene as quickly as possible.

"It was a difficult situation and Pc Gooch handled it well, did all the rights things and deserves credit for that," said Insp Bushell.

"Officers have to sum up situations quickly and decide what is best and often that is not easy.

"With a crowd of people very upset at what they can see, there was a potentially serious situation."

Pc Gooch also comforted Vicki – who had been walking with her boyfriend Ty Freer when Whalley's car suddenly veered across the road and smashed into her – talking to her and trying to calm her until the paramedics arrived.

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