Sergeant Karen Peasley receiving a NSW Police Valour Award from Commissioner Scipione.
Sergeant Karen Peasley receiving a NSW Police Valour Award from Commissioner Scipione.

Awards for cops who saved campers from armed man

TWO Tenterfield police officers have received a national award for bravery recognising their actions on the night they were threatened by a drug-fuelled offender wielding a loaded crossbow and large hunting knife on a remote property near Rocky River.

The award is a “final bit of closure” for Sergeant Carter Knyvett who was forced to use his service pistol when his partner Sergeant Karen Peasley’s tazer unsuccessfully deployed and the situation escalated.

“You don’t want to use your service pistol but it’s given to you for a reason,” he said.

“And it’s the case that if I didn’t use it, either I would have been dead, Karen would have been dead, or one or more of these campers would have been killed.”

Sgt Knyvett was the only officer on shift when two campers arrived at the Tenterfield Police Station to alert them about a man terrorising campers and holding them hostage.

Sergeant Carter Knyvett pictured here with NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.
Sergeant Carter Knyvett pictured here with NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.

After calling in the only other officer in town, his de-facto partner Sgt Peasley, the pair arrived at the property, 27km east of Tenterfield, where a “Rainbow Family” camping festival was being hosted.

Sgt Knyvett said they arrived just in time to stop the offender cutting off the owner’s head with a large hunting knife.

“The offender, through a mixture of mental illness and massive drug consumption, just lost it and had some sort of psychosis, and was terrorising them and preventing them for leaving for the whole weekend,” he said.

“He had the owner of the property, the wife, on her knees in front of him and was about to cut her head off with this knife… when we arrived.

“If we’d got there any later, from the evidence I’ve seen the other witnesses give at Coroner’s Court, he would have cut the throat of this woman, the property owner, and who knows what he would have done to the other 13, 14 people who were there.”

The man disappeared into the scrub only to return about an hour later in camouflage gear with a scope-sighted cross-bow, just as the two officers were about to finish evacuating the campers.

With virtually no radio and no mobile phone reception, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensued with the offender refusing to co-operate with police instructions and continuing to threaten both police and campers.

“He’s got the crossbow directly pointed at Karen, and we both thought he was about to fire it,” Sgt Knyvett said.

“She’s fired the tazer… (which) didn’t work because it’s hit the front of the car, which has left him standing, still aiming at us, and that’s when I fired a couple of shots and it’s hit them.”

Sgt Knyvett and Peasley, now based in Sydney, were awarded a Group Bravery Citation under the Australian Bravery Awards.

Driver commended for rescue of women in submerged van

BOWRAL man Stephen Pinczi has been commended for brave conduct following his rescue of two women from a submerged van in the Richmond River at Wardell.

Mr Pinczi was driving with his family along the Pacific Hwy on November 9, 2012, when he saw the people mover vehicle driving ahead veer off the road.

The vehicle sped off the highway and through bushland before crashing into the river.

Mr Pinczi immediately pulled his car to the side of the road, told his wife to call 000, and ran about 80m to where the van had entered the water.

He jumped in the water but by the time he reached the vehicle it was completely submerged.

Mr Pinczi swam down to the van several times and managed to free the injured female driver and bring her to the surface.

Once she was out of the water, Mr Pinczi returned to the van to bring the second woman, who was disabled, to the surface where he was helped by other people to bring her to the river bank.



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