St Albans community hero praised after tackling machete maniac

Matthew Samples

Matthew Samples - Credit: Archant

An unsung community hero and a dedicated police officer from St Albans were just some of the people to be celebrated at a recent awards ceremony.

The prestigious Herts Constabulary Award was presented to Matthew Samples after he stepped in to disarm a man who pulled out a machete in a supermarket in January last year.

The 43-year-old security consultant was at the Tesco Extra store in Hatfield when a man trying to buy some alcohol, who did not have the means to pay, became involved in an altercation with the manager and punched him several times.

When the man produced a machete, without thought for his own safety, Mr Samples grabbed him by the wrist and pinned him on the floor until the police arrived.

Talking about receiving the award, which is given to a member of the public for a ‘meritorious and public spirited action’ that assist the police or community, he said: “I left school at 14 and had to make my own way in life and it sounds silly but it is almost feeling part of society.”

He added: “I did think about my family and the consequences to them but I also thought about the guy who was about to be hit by a machete.”

During the evening a number of Chief Constable’s Commendations were also presented to staff at Herts Police including Detective Sergeant Liz Usher, who is based in Hatfield and lives in St Albans.

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She worked with Detective Constable Charlie Thorogood on a case after a man was arrested on suspicion of voyeurism following an incident in a toilet cubicle at industrial premises in Welwyn Garden City in July.

They discovered more serious sexual offences were linked to the man and over the course of the next few months identified further victims.

He went on to admit to a string of offences, including serious sexual abuse, and through persistent investigation was charged with 13 serious sexual offences and sentenced to seven years and three months imprisonment.