Wales

Police bravery award for Port Talbot hammer attack officer

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Media caption"If I'd stood there and done nothing, I'd never live with myself"

A police officer who tackled an armed attacker despite her hand being in plaster has won a bravery award.

PC Kelda Griffiths of Gwent Police was on sick leave when she confronted a woman damaging houses with a hammer in Port Talbot in May 2018.

She fought off the attacker but only after she was gouged, bitten, hit and tore knee ligaments in the struggle.

Now she has been presented with a Police Federation award for her "outstanding act of bravery".

"I can live with the injuries and what's gone on in my life since but if I'd stood there and done nothing, I'd never live with myself and I don't think I would put this uniform back on," PC Griffiths said.

Image copyright Kelda Griffiths
Image caption "I just didn't know what to do when i was pinned to the floor"

Returning home with her partner after an evening out, she went to investigate banging and shouting along the street.

Her right hand was already in plaster after she fractured it arresting a violent man the previous week.

She was confronted by Icealyn McLennon who was holding a "large" hammer.

"She came towards me, shouting all sorts and swinging the hammer from side to side," PC Griffiths said.

"Then all of a sudden she ran at another man standing on the pavement and I knew I had to get that hammer because she was going to kill him.

"I grabbed the hammer from behind but as I twisted it, she fell on top of me on the ground.

Image copyright Kelda Griffiths
Image caption Her hair was ripped out by the attacker
Image copyright Kelda Griffiths
Image caption She was also bitten during the attack

PC Griffiths said McLennon then started gouging her eyes.

She managed to kick her away, threw the hammer towards the man and ran into a house before police back-up arrived.

"I've been involved in incidents where you get punched, hit or kicked but to have my eyes gouged the way they were, to be bitten… all the side of my head, my hair being pulled out - it was just not human to me," she said.

"If the gentleman involved had got hit with the hammer, it would've been critical or life threatening."

Image copyright Police Federation awards
Image caption PC Griffiths sits left of the prime minister with fellow award winners

McLennon was sentenced in July 2018 for 12 months for assaulting a police officer.

This was not the first time PC Griffiths had found herself confronted with a potentially life-threatening situation in her 16-year career.

She and a colleague were first on the scene when Matthew Williams murdered Cerys Yemm, 22, at the Sirhowy Arms in Argoed, Caerphilly, in 2014.

Police Federation of England and Wales chair John Apter said: "PC Griffiths demonstrated outstanding courage and dedication, putting the lives of others before her own without a second thought."

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