A COURAGEOUS 14-year-old who confronted a sex offender has been recognised for her bravery by police officers.
Swanwick Hall School pupil Ashleigh Clewley was waiting for a pal in Somercotes on June 29, 2011.
But when her friend Holly Brewster arrived she was scared and told Ashleigh she was being followed by a man in a car.
When the man drove by and stopped alongside the teenagers, Ashleigh approached the vehicle, and demanded to know why the man was following her friend.
It was the description she managed to give to police afterwards that lead to the arrest of Paul Lyons, a convicted sex offender from Nottingham.
Ashleigh was given a Derbyshire Constabulary award for bravery at the force’s Butterley headquarters on Wednesday.
PC Diane James, who lead the case, nominated Ashleigh for her award.
She said: “It was very brave what she did, the man concerned had been following Holly several times before.
“That’s what made her go and find Ashleigh and say, ‘he’s following me again’.
“This time Ashleigh decided enough was enough.
“Between them they managed to get the registration plate and call police straight away, it was very quick thinking of them.”
Lyons, 32, was breaching a sex offender prevention order and in January this year he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
The awards ceremony also saw Ripley officers, Detective Constable Michelle Robinson and Constable Ebony Lee, given Chief Constable’s Commendations.
The pair helped snare paedophile George Stevenson, 75, of Turner Avenue, Langley Mill, through a lengthy investigation into a string of sexual abuses he committed throughout the 70s and 80s.
Stevenson was jailed for 12 years in August 2011 for eight counts of sexual abuse against children. The youngest was just seven years old when the abuse began.
One of the victims paid tribute to the officers for their work at the awards ceremony, saying: “I just wanted to say a big thank you for all your hard work without which this wouldn’t have happened. I’m so grateful, words don’t seem enough.”
And Ripley Safer Neighbourhood Team leader PC Mark Reddish and Heanor and Loscoe Safer Neighbourhood PC David Morton were among five officers recognised by the Royal Humane Society for the roles they played in saving the life of a Ripley woman.
On December 22, 2010, the officers were called to a house in Whitcombe Place after a woman rang a friend to say she had soaked herself with white spirits.
She had set herself on fire, but the quick thinking officers managed to douse the flames, which had spread to a set of nearby curtains. The woman did not die.