Henry Stevens (police officer)
The Bickley burglary
At around 8.00 pm, on 29 March 1958, a local criminal named Ronald Easterbrook, who was armed with a gun, was burgling a house in Bickley in the London Borough of Bromley. Police had been alerted to the burglary and dispatched PC Henry Stevens along with two other colleagues to investigate. Stevens went round to the rear of the property and spotted Easterbrook climbing over a wooden fence. Stevens identified himself as a police officer but when Easterbrook ran, Stevens gave chase along St. Georges Road, Bickley. As Stevens was gaining on Easterbrook, Easterbrook turned and pointed the gun at Stevens before saying "Stop, or you'll get this". Ignoring the warning, Stevens continued the chase and Easterbrook opened fire, shooting Stevens in the face.
The .22 calibre bullet ricocheted off Stevens' teeth before embedding itself in his tongue. Despite having been shot, Stevens managed to grab hold of Easterbrook and force him up against some iron railings at the side of a railway bridge. During the struggle, the constable managed to twist the gun from Easterbrook's hand, but Easterbrook managed to pull free. Stevens managed to grab the back of Easterbrook's overcoat. Easterbrook who was still running with the constable being dragged behind, suddenly slipped off his overcoat and jacket causing Stevens to fall to the ground. Easterbrook then escaped over the railway bridge.
The coat and jacket were later used to help identify Easterbrook. The officer, PC Henry Stevens was also able to identify Easterbrook from photographs shown to him whilst he was in hospital.
The case was heard at the Old Bailey and on 13 May 1958. Ronald Easterbrook was initially charged with attempted murder but was acquitted due to lack of evidence that he actually intended to kill PC Stevens. Easterbrook was instead convicted of the lesser charge of grievous bodily harm and intent to resist his lawful apprehension. He was sentenced to 10 years.
In summing up, judge Mr. Justice Ashworth said of Ronald Easterbrook "You are in my view a wicked and dangerous man".
Citation for the George Cross
Henry Stevens received his citation for the George Cross in October 1958. His citation was published in the London Gazette on 21 October 1958. The George Cross is Britain's highest award for bravery. Stevens later attended Buckingham Palace to collect his award with his wife Andree and his two children, Paul and Lorraine.
In 2001, Stevens attended an event held at Westminster Abbey to honour those had won the Victoria Cross or the George Cross.
Stevens recovered from his injuries and continued to serve in the Metropolitan Police until his retirement in 1983 with the rank of detective chief inspector.
Honours and awards
|George Cross (GC)||1958|
|Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal||1977|
|Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal||2002|
|Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal||2012|
|Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal|
- "Man gets 10 years for shooting at PC". Evening Times. 13 May 1958. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- "Sentence of ten years". Glasgow Herald. 14 May 1958. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- "Medals of the MET" (PDF). Police Review. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "No. 41528". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 October 1978. p. 6425.
- "Stevens collects his award". Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Commissioner meets George Cross heroes". MPS. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Penny, Thomas (30 May 2001). "Abbey memorial to honour the bravest of the brave". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 September 2012.