Bravery honours for police caught up in buffalo attack

Wednesday 12th January 2022 7:00 am
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TWO policemen who risked their lives helping to save two women from a deadly water buffalo attack that killed a father and his son have received bravery awards.

PC Mark Burbidge and PC Owain Smallwood of the Monmouth Local Police Unit confronted the crazed animal at Upper Berthllwyd near Usk on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, to help rescue the men’s wife and daughter.

An inquest last June heard that 57-year-old managing director Ralph Jump and his 19-year-old-son Peter were gored to death by the buffalo - named Yolo - after the dad tried to free it from being snared by its hay ring on an electric fence at their nine-acre Gwehelog farm.

The two officers bravely jumped into the field to try and distract the animal, which had fatally injured the two men before tossing Mr Jump’s 22-year-old daughter Isabel, aged 22, into the air on its horns "like a rag doll".

Both policemen travelled to London last month to be honoured for their actions at the Police Federation’s Police Bravery Awards 2021.

PC Burbidge was the first officer on the scene, accompanied by CSO Francesco Pomposo, after reports of two people being attacked by the buffalo, which was part of a sustainable soap business.

The officers arrived at the farm to scenes of chaos with the large, aggressive bull attacking Mr Jump and his son.

The father, who ran the Wunda Group heating company in Caldicot, appeared lifeless while the son was clearly in great distress.

Three paramedics were by the gate to the field, with a fourth in the field taking cover close to a hedge.

PC Burbidge could see Josephine Jump and her daughter in the field trying to distract the animal with metal poles as it attacked the men.

The PF citation said: "Without hesitation or thought for his own safety, PC Burbridge ran into the field and started shouting, telling them to get away.

"However as he approached, the buffalo ran at the daughter, picking her up and throwing her to the ground.

"PC Burbidge picked up a pole and started to beat the ground to distract the buffalo and, when this failed, began hitting the animal.

"As he continued to strike it with a pole, the daughter managed to get away and was helped to safety by CSO Pomposo and a paramedic.

"PC Smallwood then arrived to help PC Burbidge in trying to distract the buffalo, which had moved back to the second man and was mauling him on the ground.

"Police marksmen also arrived and fired shots to try to kill the animal, but their standard carbine rifle was not powerful enough, so the officers decided to form a protective line to allow paramedics to get to the men.

"One of the men, 57-year-old Ralph Jump, died at the scene. His son Peter was airlifted to hospital but died from his injuries after surgery."

Steve Thorpe, chair of Gwent Police Federation, said: "I commend these officers for their bravery at an incident they had never trained for and where the equipment initially available to them was ineffective.

"Despite this, all involved risked their own lives, facing a clearly dangerous and unpredictable animal, in an attempt to save the lives of those injured and protect others."

PC Burbridge said: "I walked towards the women who stood in front of the buffalo and shouted at them to get out, as I did that the buffalo has then attacked the younger two womenâ¦

"I picked up a pipe and ran towards the buffalo, I stood slightly to the side of it and hit the pipe in front of the buffalo between the woman and the buffalo to try and distract it.

"I could see it turn its head towards me, and at that point, yeah, I was quite scared. I didn’t think I’d be able to out-turn it, or outrun it if it chose to attack me.

"I then used the pole again to beat down in front of the buffalo to try and distract it, and I’ve then had to hit it on its head a few times, and she started to move then, hobbling towards a tree in the top of the field.

"At that point PC Smallwood got to the field and came in, and we managed to get the young woman out."

The water buffalo was destroyed following the incident.

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