As NSW Police acknowledge the bravery of fallen officers at Crescent Head 25 years ago, we take a look at acts of bravery from local police in the region.
As NSW Police acknowledge the bravery of fallen officers at Crescent Head 25 years ago, we take a look at acts of bravery from local police in the region.

5 incredible acts of bravery on the Coffs Coast

THE NSW Police Force is this week reflecting on one of the force's darkest days in history.

Yesterday marked 25 years since the shooting murders of two Mid North Coast officers at Crescent Head.

Senior Constable Robert Spears and Senior Constable Peter Addison had been responding to reports of domestic violence when they were killed by a gunman on July 9, 1995.

For their bravery, the fallen soldiers were awarded the NSW Police Force's highest honour, the Commissioner's Valour Award.

In times of emergency we turn to police who, on many occasions, sacrifice their own safety in the face of crime.

From taking down dangerous armed offenders, to diving into the ocean to save lives, today the Advocate looks back on other brave and courageous actions from the region's local police in recent years.

Police found a homemade bomb inside the vehicle in August 2018. Photo: Frank Redward
Police found a homemade bomb inside the vehicle in August 2018. Photo: Frank Redward

Officers stop man carrying bomb, shotgun

In August 2018, Traffic and Highway Patrol officers Senior Constable Wallace Brooks and Senior Constable Mark Whittaker spotted an unregistered car driving erratically through the streets of Urunga, south of Coffs Harbour.

Inside the vehicle was a homemade pipe bomb and fuse, a loaded sawn-off .22 shotgun, a double barrel shotgun and illicit drugs.

 

Coffs/Clarence Superintendent Steve Clarke and Senior Constable Wallace Brooks at the 2009 police awards ceremony.
Coffs/Clarence Superintendent Steve Clarke and Senior Constable Wallace Brooks at the 2009 police awards ceremony.

The officers stopped the man and attempted to handcuff him, but he became violent.

After some struggle they however managed to subdue the man, and he was arrested.

A bomb squad was flown in from Sydney to dismantle the device.

Nearly a year later the offender, Bellingen man Ben Charles Thompson, was sentenced to a two year Intensive Correction Order over the incident.

A woman, 49, lost her life at Diggers Beach days before Christmas in 2017. Photo: Matt Deans
A woman, 49, lost her life at Diggers Beach days before Christmas in 2017. Photo: Matt Deans

2017 Diggers Beach tragedy

On December 17, 2017, police received reports a family had been caught in a rip and pulled out to sea at Diggers Beach.

When Senior Constable Richard Allison and Sergeant Graham Hibbs arrived at the scene, they found a man attempting to resuscitate his wife on the shore.

Senior Constable Richard Allison immediately commenced chest compressions on the woman and continued unabated for almost 30 minutes before paramedics arrived.

 

Leading Senior Constable Richard Allison performed CPR for 30 minutes in attempt to save a woman’s life at Diggers Beach.
Leading Senior Constable Richard Allison performed CPR for 30 minutes in attempt to save a woman’s life at Diggers Beach.

Meanwhile Sergeant Graham Hibbs immediately stripped down to his pants, grabbed a nearby surfboard and searched the water for hours until all the family members were located and accounted for.

The 49-year-old woman, who had travelled from the UK to visit her extended family, was rushed to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital in a critical condition but tragically died at the hospital.

Local officers were involved in taking down convicted murderer Malcolm Naden, who was on the run for more than six years.
Local officers were involved in taking down convicted murderer Malcolm Naden, who was on the run for more than six years.

Taking down one of Australia's most wanted fugitives

In February 2011, local officers Sgt Joseph Roach and Snr Constable Mark Baxter were involved in a siege at Pampoolah where notorious former fugitive and murder, Malcolm Naden, was found armed with several weapons.

Naden, who had been hiding out in bushland, attacked police with the weapons which included a knife, sword, axe and a bow and arrow.

 

Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell presents Sergeant Joseph Roach with an award at the Coffs/Clarence 2019 police award ceremony.
Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell presents Sergeant Joseph Roach with an award at the Coffs/Clarence 2019 police award ceremony.

Naden fired a number of arrows at police and hurled the axe, evading his arrest.

He was successfully arrested at a remote holiday house west of Gloucester in March 2012, and has since been sentenced to life in prison over the murders.

Sgt Roach played a crucial role as part of the Strike Force Durkin investigation, which saw officers use a range of innovative technologies to track down Naden while working in extreme weather and terrain conditions.

 

Police arrested a number of men following a pursuit in Coffs Harbour in 2016. Photo: Glen Barnett
Police arrested a number of men following a pursuit in Coffs Harbour in 2016. Photo: Glen Barnett

Officers nab dangerous offenders following drug-fuelled car chase

In October 2016, five Coffs/Clarence officers found themselves in the firing line of a rifle during a drug-fuelled car chase through the streets of Coffs Harbour.

These officers were Senior Constables Matt Dalkeith, Kyle Mann, Linda King, Benjamin Cruickshank and Detective Senior Constable Shane English.

The pursuit unfolded after an off-duty detective became suspicious of two men while visiting a restaurant, and when more officers arrived at the scene the men fled in a black sedan.

The five officers were recognised for their courageous efforts at the 2019 Coffs/Clarence police awards ceremony.
The five officers were recognised for their courageous efforts at the 2019 Coffs/Clarence police awards ceremony.

The pair drove erratically through Coffs Harbour, crashing into a semi-trailer before continuing on, and throwing a shortened .22 rifle out of the window of the sedan which discharged as it struck the road.

The pursuit came to a dramatic halt when the sedan collided with two police cars at Park Beach, where the offenders then began throwing illicit drugs and other items out of the car.

The men were extracted from the car and arrested.

 

Floods in Coffs Harbour, 2009.
Floods in Coffs Harbour, 2009.

Woman saved in Coffs Harbour's 2009 floods

On March 31, 2009, Coffs Harbour policeman Senior Constable Bradley Jackson responded to reports a vehicle had been swept off a Bonville causeway and wedged against a gum tree.

With the assistance of SES volunteers, the officer put his life at the mercy of floodwaters to save a woman stranded in the sinking car.

After several frantic attempts, Snr Const Jackson and the crew were able to reach the vehicle and save the driver by pulling her out of the vehicle's window.