Hero farmer honoured for catching paedophile

A North East farmer has been honoured for his act of bravery at a national police awards ceremony.

George Common, 60, was recognised for his part in catching a paedophile who was abusing a young boy in a car near to his property in rural Northumberland.

On the afternoon of Saturday 7 October last year George Common was checking his land and livestock when he noticed a car parked in a remote lay-by near Belsay.

See also: Arable farmer awarded top trophy at Farmers Weekly awards

When he approached the car he saw a man in the company of a young naked schoolboy. He confronted the man and tried to pull the young boy from the car.

However, Mr Common was nearly knocked to the ground when the man attempted to drive off, ramming into his Land Rover three times before speeding off from the scene.

Mr Common was able to take down the car’s registration number and give police officers descriptions of the man that proved critical to police identifying the suspect and securing his conviction.

Suspect traced

Trampoline coach Louis Murray, 23, of Wilbury Place, Blakelaw, Newcastle, was traced through his car details and later arrested.

Police found pictures of the boy on Mr Murray’s phone and the farmer confirmed he was the victim Mr Murray had been sexually abusing.

The boy told police he had been sexually abused since the age of 12, but Mr Murray had told him to keep quiet.

Mr Murray pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, two of sexual activity with a child, four of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and dangerous driving.

At Newcastle Crown Court in January he was jailed for 10 years for the child sex offences. A judge commended Mr Common and awarded him £400 out of the public purse for his heroism.

Mr Common was recognised at the Police Public Bravery Awards in London last week.

The awards were set up by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) so people could be nominated for risking their lives to protect the public.

Police praise

Northumbria Police chief constable Winton Keenen, who presented Mr Common with his medal, thanked him for his heroics.

He said: “We can consider ourselves very fortunate to have such remarkable people living and working here in the North East.”

Speaking after receiving his award, Mr Common said: “When I saw the car parked up, I was conscious that something wasn’t right.

“Hearing all of the stories in the room last night – some of them sad and upsetting – made me feel privileged to have been invited.

“It was out of this world and I’ll never forget it. It was great to hear all about members of the community working with the police to be their eyes and ears.”

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