By Alexander Lawrie
A BRAVE police constable managed to corner a raging bull just as it was about to gore an elderly man to death.
PC Derek Turnbull was first on the scene when the fully grown bull escaped from an abattoir in Galashiels.
He chased the dangerous animal for several miles before it was corralled in a garden.
An elderly man who was watching all the action unfold outside his home was then targeted by the dangerous beast.
As the bull jumped a small hedge and charged at the man, PC Turnbull, with no concern for his own safety, ran to the man’s aid.
The courageous PC was recognised for his bravery by being presented with the Chief Constable’s Commendation Award at a Lothian and Borders Police award ceremony yesterday.
He said: “I was patrolling the A7 when I got a call saying an animal had escaped from the local killing house.
“I caught up with the bull just as it entered a housing estate. I grew up on a farm so I was quite comfortable facing the animal.
“An elderly gentleman then appeared trying to help us shoo it to a local golf course, but unfortunately soon as it saw him it took off after him.
“It jumped the hedge and cornered him but luckily I got there in time and helped the man escape.
“It was quite an eventful day, but I felt quite safe facing it up.
Holding his baton in one hand, he managed to grab the man and drag him to safety while screaming at the charging animal.
The beast then changed direction and charged at the officer in the incident in November 2006.
A fellow officer helped Constable Turnbull escape by cornering the bull with his police van.
The bull was cornered in a nearby garden where it was contained and destroyed.
PC Turnbull said: “I didn’t really expect to be given any kind of official recognition as it’s all in a day’s work really, but I’m so proud to be given this award.”
Dozens of other police officers and heroic civilians were also presented with awards yesterday at the Police Meritorious Awards in Edinburgh.
Another heroic duo, Lorraine Telfer-Smith and Steven Ross helped save the life of an elderly woman who accidentally set herself on fire.
The Musselburgh woman had been cooking and had set her nightclothes on fire.
She then ran screaming into the street looking for help.
Neighbours Steven and Lorraine rushed to the woman’s aid using water and wet towels to dampen the flames, putting themselves in extreme danger.
Ms Telfer-Smith, a qualified nurse, stayed with the woman until the emergency services arrived.
It is thought that if the pair had not intervened the lady would not have survived.
Ms Telfer-Smith said: “I was sitting watching the tv when I saw a glow outside. I looked out and saw my neighbour running down the street on fire.
“I was so horrified. I ran down, took my dressing gown off to quell the flames and managed to call the ambulance.
“Mr Ross came down with a bucket of water and we managed to put the fire out together.
“I knew it was a terrible thing to happen but it was much worse for the lady involved. I’m just glad she is alright.
“The shock of it all didn’t hit me until later, it was more the reality of how can I assist her and save her from burning to death basically.”
Two cops who were called to attend to a drunk woman were also awarded after they risked their lives by pulling the lifeless body of the woman from the sea.
The woman was barely conscious and showed no signs of a pulse in the incident in Prestonpans in November 2006.
An ambulance was called and the two officers, PC’s Fiona Gilchrist and Neil Currie, stayed with the woman keeping her warm and helping her to regain consciousness.
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: “Today’s awards are the recognition of the bravery and heroism of members of the public and police officers in the Lothians.
“They show our appreciation for the heroism they have displayed in a range of events that have both threatened life and also some serious incidents of crime.
“It is impossible to over-emphasise the importance of police and the public working together.”