Somerset hero gets prestigious award

A HEROIC Somerset resident who saved a family friend from a thug has been given a prestigious bravery award. Edward Gowan, aged 75, picked up a Waley-Cohen Award at a ceremony in Taunton yesterday (Wed) after bravely stepping in to help a female friend

AN HEROIC villager who saved a family friend from a thug has been given a prestigious bravery award.

Edward Gowan, aged 75, picked up a Waley-Cohen Award at a ceremony in Taunton yesterday (Weds) after bravely stepping in to help a female friend in March 2006.

The retired former landlord of The Packhorse in Mark said: “I am a bit embarrassed about it all really. I’m just not the type of person to receive awards.

“I took my family and friends along to the ceremony though.”


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Marilyn Puddy, a friend of Edward’s, was staying at his bungalow in The Causeway with her daughter Anna and Anna’s two children.

Anna was staying at in the Somerset village because of difficulties she was having with her partner, Martin Slocombe, who had previous convictions for drug and violent offences.

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On March 11, 2006, Anna had driven to Ilton in Somerset so Slocombe could see the two children. During the visit he became violent, assaulted Anna and kidnapped the youngsters.

Police were called and the children were returned to their mother.

In the early hours the following day, Anna was sat in the kitchen of the Mark bungalow when Slocombe suddenly smashed the window. Anna ran into a bedroom where her two young girls, aged six and eight, were sleeping.

Edward said: “When I heard the smash I just thought what the hell is going on?’”

Slocombe had used a pick-axe handle to smash the window and made his way into the bedroom where Anna was hiding. He managed to smash his way through the bedroom door and attacked her with a large kitchen knife.

When Edward heard the commotion, he called the police and went into the bedroom. Risking his life, Edward pushed Slocombe out of the way and used his body to shield Anna and the children.

Edward, who has lived in Mark for 40 years, then grabbed Slocombe and ordered him off the property.

Martin Slocombe was later arrested and charged with offences of assault, threatening to kill and criminal damage. Last year he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

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