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Bravery awards for Dunedin Countdown stabbing heroes

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Oct 2022, 12:33pm
The attack took place at the central Dunedin supermarket on May 10 this year. Photo / Christine O'Connor
The attack took place at the central Dunedin supermarket on May 10 this year. Photo / Christine O'Connor

Bravery awards for Dunedin Countdown stabbing heroes

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Oct 2022, 12:33pm

Two off-duty police officers have been recognised with bravery awards after intervening to help stop a stabbing spree at a Dunedin Countdown supermarket.

Constable Sophie Allison and Detective Constable Jeremy Toschi, both of Dunedin, were today presented with the 2022 Police Association Bravery Award awards by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the association’s annual conference in Wellington.

The award recognises outstanding bravery performed by police officers in carrying out their duties, on or off the job.

Constable Allison was off duty and shopping, and Detective Constable Toschi was in plain clothes and in the supermarket to buy his lunch when the attack happened on May 10 last year.

In her statement on the chaotic scene, Constable Allison described ‘’the type of screaming that makes your stomach sink... he had a knife in each hand... I realised he was stabbing people. He was intentionally going for people’s necks,’’ she said.

Receiving the award was an ‘’absolute honour’'.

She was nominated for the award by her colleagues which made it ‘’really special and a genuine honour’’.

Detective Constable Toschi said he was humbled and honoured to be receiving the award.

His son had been very nervous about going into supermarkets in the months following, he said.

Both officers praised the actions of supermarket employees and members of the public, without whom the outcome could have been a lot worse, and they hoped there will also be public recognition of their actions too.

The association’s bravery award panel, which includes Dame Annette King and Sir Anand Satyanand, said that the courageous actions of the officers, along with supermarket staff and members of the public, prevented the offender from killing or seriously injuring more victims.

A man was jailed in May this year for 13 years after pleading guilty to four charges of attempted murder.

Association president Chris Cahill said members of the public, Countdown staff and the two police officers all responded to the stabbing spree with great bravery.

‘’They worked together to save lives and prevent further injury, and all involved should be incredibly proud of themselves,’’ Cahill said.

The awards were established in 2009 to recognise exceptional acts of bravery performed by police officers in carrying out their duties to society.

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