Stalham raid heroine honoured

A building society manager who took a picture of a robber brandishing a gun will today be recognised with a national bravery award.Julie Andrews was visiting the Stalham branch of her employer Nationwide to take pictures of office improvements in July last year when the robber burst in.

A building society manager who took a picture of a robber brandishing a gun will today be recognised with a national bravery award.

Julie Andrews was visiting the Stalham branch of her employer Nationwide to take pictures of office improvements in July last year when the robber burst in. She took pictures of the armed man - despite the obvious danger.

Her pictures - carried on the front page of the EDP at the time - helped police arrest him just two days after the raid.

Today she will receive a silver medal at the annual Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) conference. Meredydd Hughes, honorary secretary of the awards and South Yorkshire chief constable, said: “This ceremony will be a moving and emotional occasion as we honour those members of the public who stepped forward in the face of danger to help others.

“The good done by everyday people is often ignored, and Acpo is pleased to be able to formally recognise at least a few of those who act in a courageous and public-spirited way, fighting crime and saving lives.”

Mrs Andrews, who has already won a similar award by Norfolk police, was nominated by eastern area commander Charlie Hall.

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She acted after the robber, Julian Amis, threatened staff with a gun and demanded they hand over cash. After taking the pictures she followed him out of the premises and continued taking photographs.

These pictures were publicised in local newspapers and on television and not only led to his arrest but also provided evidence of his escape route on which items relating to the robbery were found.

Amis, 39, of The Avenues, Horning, was later given a nine-year jail sentence at Norwich Crown Court after the judge heard he had been responsible for a similar robbery in 1991.

A spokesman for Nationwide said staff were advised not to place themselves in danger. But he added: “We are pleased that she has been recognised in this way and that an armed robber has been taken off the streets because of her actions.”

Four people will be presented with a gold medal at the Provincial Police Awards. They include Georgie Gibson, who went to her neighbour's house in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, after hearing shots being fired in June 2004.

She knew there were children in the house, her award citation said. Mrs Gibson discovered Vicky Horgan, 27, had been shot by her deranged husband Stuart, along with sister Emma Walton, 25, while they enjoyed a barbecue.

Mrs Gibson administered first aid to grandmother Jacqueline Walton, who had been shot in the head but survived. The assailant was captured, but killed himself with a disposable razor in his prison cell.