PC Liz Cargill and PC Mark Wilson were called to St Gabriel’s Convent, in Woolton, after reports of youths in the grounds.
The site has become notorious in recent years after a number of devastating fires tore through the empty building, which was once the backdrop for horrific sex abuse at the children’s home.
Due to the fires and incidents of anti-social behaviour, the building is dangerous and people are often warned to stay away from it.
When the officers arrived at the scene on May, 4 2019, the officers could see two young women and a man on the roof of the four-storey high building.
One of the women was hysterical and was sitting right on the edge of the roof, her feet dangling over the side.
She began making threats and despite the poor condition of the building, the officers knew they would have to get onto the roof to bring her to safety
The building was so damaged by a recent fire that the officers had to traverse two-foot-wide beams and roof joints with a dangerous drop either side of them just to get to the woman.
She was becoming increasingly agitated at this stage but the officers managed to edge ever closer to her and kept talking to her to try and keep her calm before deciding to grab her and haul her to safety.
The officers managed to get a rapport going with her, but she continued to burst into aggressive episodes making her rescue extremely perilous.
More officers had by now arrived on the scene, but it was clearly just too dangerous for them to try and join in the rescue and the decision was made to call in Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
With their help, the officers managed to get the woman under control and get her safely down from the damaged roof.
She was detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
Helplines and support groups
The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
- Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
- Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: email@example.com
- Paul’s Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, both officers have been nominated for The National Police Bravery Awards.
Merseyside Police Federation Chairman Tony Fairclough said the officers went “above and beyond” to get the woman to safety.
He said: “Despite the hazardous and dangerous conditions in which Liz and Mark were operating, and the sadly hysterical nature of the woman, the officers managed to remain calm and professional throughout.
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“What an incredibly brave thing to do – the duo had a lot to contend with to save this lady’s life and safeguard this vulnerable woman in what was obviously a significant time of crisis in her life. Liz and Mark also had to protect themselves from the obvious danger which they managed to do with policing brilliance.
“It once again shows how police officers do much more than fight crime. We are extremely proud of them.”