A DETECTIVE who helped bring to justice a couple who stripped their godmother of almost all her life savings has been commended for her work on the case.
Detective Constable Rachel Graham was honoured during a Cleveland Police awards ceremony for helping to snare despicable Hartlepool husband and wife Lesley and Andrew Reeve.
Lesley Reeve, 56, and husband Andrew, 55, were both jailed for two-and-a-half years in September after stealing more than £100,000 from 91-year-old dementia sufferer Joan Killen, Lesley Reeve’s godmother, in only two years.
They were found guilty of theft after Teesside Crown Court heard they spent the cash on themselves, including converting the garage of their home in Chichester Close into a gym.
During a ceremony held at the police’s Ladgate Lane headquarters, Det Con Graham received a Judge’s Commendation for her thorough work on the long and complicated case.
An Assistant Chief Constable’s commendation was awarded to a fellow staff member for her analytical work and production of an evidence pack to help the jury understand the complexities in the case.
Det Con Graham said: “Myself and a colleague worked tirelessly, examining bank statements and displaying the information so a jury would understand how the money was stolen and spent.”
Police are now trying to claw back the cash taken by the Reeves.
Det Con Graham was one of 32 officers and civilian staff commended by Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer and High Sheriff of Durham, Peter Bell, for a range of achievements including outstanding courage, professionalism, bravery and dedication.
Other officers commended included PC Kate De-Nobriga and PC Neil Chisholm, who received the Chief Constable’s commendation after an incident in March which saw a man dangling from a window ledge 100ft up at a high-rise flat in Billingham.
The PCs raced into the flat and took hold of the man by his arms while a third officer, PC David West, arrived shortly after and helped pull the man to safety.
Police say without doubt the actions of the officers saved the man’s life, and if he had fallen he could have been killed.
PC West received the Assistant Chief Constable’s commendation.
Mrs Cheer said: “It is important to us to say thank you to our officers and staff who have displayed the utmost dedication to their profession, as well as their families.”
She also paid tribute to civilian staff who have shown “great bravery, selflessness and disregard for their own safety”, especially with no training or experience of often potentially dangerous situations.