A FATHER and son who confronted a knife-wielding robber who broke into an elderly neighbour’s South Yorkshire home have been honoured for their bravery.
Paul and Thomas Hamshaw stepped in to help their frightened 71-year-old neighbour when they heard her cries for help.
When they went to the pensioner’s home in Rawmarsh, Rotherham, to investigate they spotted a masked man climbing over the rear garden wall clutching a handbag.
Thomas, who was just 17 at the time, confronted the robber and grabbed hold of the man as he tried to escape from the sheltered housing complex.
When Thomas’ father Paul, then 41, arrived to help, the culprit pulled out a knife and threatened the plucky pair.
He managed to escape and fled through neighbouring streets and fields before dropping the handbag he had stolen from his victim.
Paul and Thomas picked up the bag and handed it in to police.
Robber Brendan Mullen, of Clay Pit Lane, Rawmarsh, was arrested a few days after the offence in August 2009.
Detectives investigating the offence discovered Mullen, now 38, had broken into his victim’s home and threatened her with a knife when she confronted him.
She told them she had struggled with the intruder and was thrown against her fridge during the confrontation.
The OAP was left with a deep cut to her thumb, which later needed surgery.
Mullen denied any involvement but he was found guilty of robbery and possession of an offensive weapon after a trial.
He was jailed for eight and a half years.
Crown Court Judge Michael Murphy QC made specific reference to the bravery of Thomas Hamshaw, who he said had acted in a ‘public spirited manner’.
The judge awarded Thomas £250 for his courageous efforts.
This week the teenager and his dad were honoured at the annual Police Public Bravery Awards, in Harrogate.
Thomas was presented with a silver medal and his dad received a certificate of commendation.
South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Med Hughes, Honorary Secretary of the Police Public Bravery Awards, said: “Whilst some young men are often criticised for their behaviour, this incident shows that others are fine, decent and care for their neighbours.
“Thomas’s courage and his father’s support are worthy of recognition. These men are fine examples to us all.”
Det Insp Gary Luckock, who investigated the robbery, said: “The public are our eyes and ears and that’s all we can ask of members of the public if they witness an incident.
“These two men took it one step further and out of pure instinct and showed real public spiritedness in trying apprehend the offender.
“They also played a big part in helping us detect this crime. A lot of people would not have done what they did.”