Police officers nominated for bravery award after disarming & detaining Sheffield man who killed parents

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“I was in pure shock. I thought: Oh my God, he’s actually got blood on him and he says he’s killed people.”

Two police officers who disarmed and detained a man who had just killed both his parents at their Sheffield home have won a South Yorkshire Police Federation Bravery Award. At 10.15am on Sunday, November 27, 2022, a woman called South Yorkshire Police saying she was deeply concerned for her elderly parents’ safety. She reported attending their address in the Totley area of Sheffield and seeing her brother in a distressed state, telling her not to enter the property.  

During a hearing held in July 2023, Sheffield Crown Court heard how the suspect was subsequently identified as James Andrews, also known as Duncan, and the call for concern related to his parents, Bryan and Mary Andrews.

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Left to right: PC Nicola Burn & PC Anna KelseyLeft to right: PC Nicola Burn & PC Anna Kelsey
Left to right: PC Nicola Burn & PC Anna Kelsey

PC Anna Kelsey and PC Nicola Burn attended the incident and were met by the very worried daughter. She told them that her brother was still inside the house with her parents. They reassured her and entered the house, where they found the suspect at the top of the stairs. He was wearing only his underwear, was covered in blood, and was holding a large knife.

PC Kelsey recalled: “I had recently been Taser trained, and I actually went in with my Taser unholstered, by my side. We came to the bottom of the stairs and the suspect was at the top of the stairs holding a dagger in his hand. It was long and jagged and he was pushing it into his stomach – his stomach and hands were covered in blood.

“We asked him if we could come up and have a chat with him, but he said, ‘No, don’t come any closer’. We asked him why he had the knife and he told us, ‘Because I’ve just killed both my parents’. All the time, I kept passing updates to the control room.

“The man said that if we went upstairs, he would kill us. They teach you in Taser training not to Taser someone at height, as there was a risk of him falling down the stairs onto us with a knife, so it was pretty intense working out what to do.”

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PC Burn added: “I was in pure shock. I thought: Oh my God, he’s actually got blood on him and he says he’s killed people. It’s real, it’s not just a training scenario.

“I’d never been in this situation before. But luckily the training kicked in and Anna and I realised it was definitely a Taser job. He could easily throw a weapon at us and our main priority was to get upstairs and check on his parents, to see if there was anything we could do to help them or him.”

Both officers drew their Tasers, while the man screamed, ‘Don’t come any closer!’. PC Burn managed to take a step up the stairs, which caused the man to take a step back, and she fired her Taser, causing him to fall to the floor.

The officers ran up the stairs and PC Burn recalls: “He still had the knife in his hand, and he started raising it again, so I didn’t know if he was going to throw it. When I saw the Taser had made a perfect connection, it was a moment of relief that I knew we had a couple of seconds to detain the male and have him secure so that he couldn’t be a threat to us or anyone else in the house.” The officers got the knife out of his hands and cuffed him. PC Kelsey stayed with the suspect while PC Burn searched the house. Sadly, she found the bodies of the man’s elderly parents, who had died of multiple stab wounds. Back-up officers arrived on the scene and the man was taken to hospital.

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At the conclusion of his sentencing hearing in July last year, James Andrews, then aged 52, was detained at Rampton Hospital after pleading guilty plea to manslaughter by diminished responsibility. Psychiatrists agreed that he was suffering from a serious mental disorder.

Mrs Justice Mary Stacey sentenced him to an indefinite hospital order and imposed a restraining order to further protect family members.

The judge said: "You killed both your parents who loved you and cared for you, and who you loved.

"You need treatment, not punishment for these crimes."

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Andrews’ sisters, Sally and Lucy Andrews told the sentencing hearing that their beloved parents could still be alive if he had been properly diagnosed and treated for his mental health problems.

Both PC Burn and PC Kelsey were affected by the horrific scenes they had seen and the fear that they too could have been attacked. PC Kelsey said afterwards: “It was horrible; you don’t realise until you go to something like that how traumatic it is. If it had been a single-crewed officer that wasn’t Taser trained, it could have been a whole different story.”

When they were told they’d been nominated for South Yorkshire Police Federation Bravery Awards, PC Kelsey said: “I’m really honoured. We’re under such scrutiny from the public, so to get recognition for doing something good is important. It’s nice to get this alongside Nicola as well, because we went through it together.”

PC Burn said: “Unfortunately it’s not often you get really good praise. But I do feel proud. It’s nice also to get praise for treating the man like a human being who was going through a crisis and making sure he was okay, which a lot of officers would struggle to do after they’ve just seen what he’s done to someone. But that’s your job. You have to treat everyone the same, no matter what’s happened.”

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South Yorkshire Police Federation chairman, Steve Kent, said: “Throughout this extremely distressing incident, Anna and Nicola were highly professional and remained calm under some of the toughest circumstances an officer could face. Both officers carried out their duties and followed their Taser training to the highest standard.

“Their communication skills and aftercare for the suspect were also astounding, despite being in extremely stressful and overwhelming circumstances.

“We are very proud of them – they are very deserving winners of an award.”

PC Burn and PC Kelsey will attend the South Yorkshire Police Federation Bravery Awards on Thursday, May 23.

At the event, a winner will be announced who will travel to London for the National Police Federation Bravery Awards in July.