Bravery awards for Yorkshire men who tackled and detained 'cop killer' armed with blade

A father and son who tackled and detained a ‘cop killer’ who tried to rob their shop while armed with a 10” knife have been presented with bravery awards.

Terry and Oliver Fieldhouse received the top honour on behalf of the National Police Chiefs Council during a ceremony last week, where they were presented with medals and framed certificates for their efforts in apprehending a convicted killer who had previously served time behind bars for the manslaughter of a serving police officer.

Thomas Whaley, aged 39, robbed Catcliffe Post Office, Rotherham, in October 2018 after threatening worker Oliver, now 23, with a broken bottle and demanding cash.

Whaley returned the following day, that time armed with a knife, but Oliver’s dad, Terry, 55, who runs the Post Office, spotted him and intervened – punching him to his head and grappling with him until police arrived.

Terry and Oliver Fieldhouse received the top honour on behalf of the National Police Chiefs Council

Despite being seriously injured and bleeding after being struck over his head with a bottle, Terry and son Oliver managed to detain Whaley while waiting for police officers to arrive.

Whaley’s arm was broken in his efforts to escape.

After Whaley’s arrest it was discovered that the prolific offender had previously served time behind bars for killing a police officer.

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Thomas Whaley

He was jailed for eight years in 2001 over the death of PC Alison Armitage in Oldham.

Whaley, then 24, was trying to escape in a stolen car when he ran the police officer over, dragging her under the vehicle.

He claimed not to have seen the officer, despite driving backwards and forwards over her body in his bid to evade arrest.

Whaley was charged with murder but denied the offence, admitted manslaughter and served just five years behind bars.

He was later sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum of 15 years over the Post Office raids in Rotherham but appealed and the minimum sentence he must serve was reduced to seven years.

After receiving his bravery award, Terry said he fears Whaley will kill again when released.

He also criticised the judicial system for being set up to support and help offenders rather than victims.

“I am proud of our bravery awards and that our actions have been recognised, although we never expected anything like this,” Terry said.

“I do believe that Whaley will commit further crimes and kill again when he is released because he has has shown the lengths he is prepared to go to. He has already a cop killer and could easily have killed Oliver and myself. He is not fit to be released and I will fight against that happening all the way.

“Despite the judicial system being set up in favour of offenders, with all the help and support possible being made available to them, and victims just being forgotten about, I do not for one minute believe Whaley will come out of prison a reformed and better person.”

Terry has improved security at his Post Office and convenience store, with sophisticated ant-intruder systems and alarms installed.

He also has a protection dog to deter and react to crooks.

Oliver, who still works in the Post Office and in security, is hoping to eventually pursue a career in the police.