A POLICEMAN saved the life of a drunken vandal who had slashed an artery in his arm
A POLICEMAN saved the life of a drunken vandal who had slashed an artery in his arm when smashing a Henley pub window.
Gavin Coffey could have died from loss of blood if it hadn’t been for the quick-thinking of Sgt Graham Pink.
This week, the 22-year-old from Charvil thanked the officer, saying: “I really owe Graham a lot. I have thanked him personally but I would like him to get some public recognition. It is a lesson learned. I was very drunk and the only reason for the incident was that I was far too drunk.”
The incident happened in the early hours of March 24 after Mr Coffey had spent the night drinking with friends.
He punched through a window at the Catherine Wheel pub in Hart Street and then ran off towards the river chased by Sgt Pink. The officer soon caught up and found Mr Coffey bleeding heavily from his right arm where his radial artery had been cut.
Sgt Pink recalled: “I was patrolling the town centre and was outside the Catherine Wheel when I saw a lad come out of the pub and punch a window. He was with some other people but he ran off towards the bridge and St Mary’s Church so I ran after him. I found him by Café Rouge where he had stopped.
“He did not realise what he had done and nor did I at first but as I got closer I could see that the blood was coming out of his wrist quite quickly. I called on the radio and made sure the ambulance was getting towards me and then I started to treat him. I was on my own as my colleagues were all dealing with other incidents.
“I started shouting for help, which we are not used to having to do, and I am pretty sure one man ignored me.”
Sgt Pink laid Mr Coffey down with his arm elevated.
“I had to use my hands and apply as much pressure as possible to stop him losing so much blood,” he said.
“He was able to talk to me but he had no idea what he had done to himself. That was due to the drinking and because of the fact that he was losing blood. The blood was very red so I had a clue that it was serious and Gavin was looking very peaky to say the least.”
Staff from Magoos bar opposite brought out a first aid kit and Sgt Pink used a tea towel and a bandage to stem the bleeding until the ambulance arrived.
He said: “Gavin was lucky that fate was in his favour that night and that I was there when it happened. If I had not have found him when I did it might have been very different. If he had kept running and gone into the graveyard to hide, he would have been dead. He is very lucky that he stopped.”
He described Mr Coffey as “very intoxicated”. Sgt Pink said: “If ever there was an advert for not getting drunk that was it. I would have loved to record it and play it to people.” Mr Coffey was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading where accident and emergency staff told him that if Sgt Pink hadn’t intervened, he would have bled to death within 30 minutes.
He said: “It does sink in when you find yourself in a hospital — that’s never good.”
Mr Coffey admitted he could not remember much of the night.
“I had been out with a couple of friends for a fairly jovial evening but someone just could not handle their liquor,” he said.
“The gravity of the situation settled in once I was with people like Graham who are trained in those sorts of areas, as I could see the worry on his face.
“The next couple of days were a bit sombre — I was not very impressed with myself. I am an adult now so there was not much that my parents needed to say. I gave myself a telling off and that was it. I have offered to pay for the damages and apologised to the Catherine Wheel.”
Mr Coffey was given a fixed penalty notice of £80 for disorder the next day when Sgt Pink called at his house in Vale View Road.
The officer said: “I went round to see him and that he was okay but thought it was important for him to understand what had happened.
“I do not want to see anyone do that and end up, in the worst case scenario, dead. If he does not learn his lesson from that then I do not think a court hearing would have made it sink in.”
Inspector Mark Harling, head of Henley police, said: “Graham did exactly what I would expect of him. He did incredibly well.”