‘An inspiration’: Police chief’s emotional tribute to sister of murdered woman, after she herself died
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk's chief constable made an emotional tribute to the sister of a woman brutally murdered in Thailand more than five years ago after she herself died.
Following the murder of Hannah Witheridge on the island of Koh Tao in 2014 the award given to family liaison officers (FLOs) at the Norfolk Safer Community Awards was named in her honour.
For the past three years Laura Witheridge, Hannah's sister, has presented the award in memory of her sister to the FLOs who had done so much to help her and her family.
But Laura's unexpected death last month has prompted Norfolk's chief constable Simon Bailey to rename it The Hannah and Laura Witheridge Special Recognition Award "in honour of both their memories",
Speaking on Thursday, Mr Bailey described Laura as "an inspiration to everyone who knew her".
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He said: "Her unexpected death has brought about yet more heartbreak for her husband Lewis, her parents Tony and Sue and her siblings.
"Laura took great pride in presenting this award in her sister's honour, so her husband Lewis wanted something read on their behalf."
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Mr Bailey said he was "incredibly proud" of Laura who was "passionate about this award, she was passionate about the world of family liaison and having the help she and her family so desperately needed.
"She started to prepare for this night's awards night even while laid in her hospital bed days before her death as it meant that much to her.
"This award for Laura wasn't just about having something lasting to remember Hannah with, it is about sharing the message that even when the world looks bleak, unfair, filled with twists of hatred and horror there is always good somewhere. She found this through discovering family liaison."
He said Laura who would always ask how they did it, how they could surround themselves in others grief and despair and said she "found them truly remarkable".
PC Chris Alexander received the award after having been deployed as a FLO in April to the wife and children of a man who died in a crash.
After he left he saw a woman on the wrong side of a bridge on the A47. He stopped, stayed with her and eventually managed to lead her to safety.
PC Alexander said he was "privileged" to receive the award.