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Woman’s heartfelt thanks for officer’s compassion 20 years ago

A woman has penned a heartfelt thank-you to a caring cop who came to her aid following the sudden death of her father – after a chance encounter with the same officer almost 20 years later!

PC Keith Bennett attended Ann Preston’s Birmingham home in May 2001 after her dad sadly collapsed and died on the kitchen floor.

Keith – now a Sergeant with our Drones Unit – helped her through the initial trauma, liaised with funeral directors and revisited the next day to offer support.

Little did Keith know at the time but the compassion he showed would have a lasting impact…

Fast forward almost two decades and a West Midlands Police investigator was sat with Ann, now aged 82, after she’d been robbed in a shocking street attack in which a man snatched her handbag containing her weekly pension.

She was pulled to the floor and suffered a broken shoulder during the mugging.

Ann recalled the last time a police officer was in her living room but suggested to investigator and Police Cadet Leader Jamie Bunting “I suppose you won’t know PC Keith Bennett”.

By chance he knew Keith well as his son is a Cadet under his guidance.

Ann Preston and our officer Sgt Keith Bennett
Ann Preston and our officer Sgt Keith Bennett

Ann asked Jamie if he could pass on a hand-written note to Sgt Bennett expressing her belated thanks for the care he showed in her hour of need.

The letter was duly delivered and last week Keith popped to see Ann at her Billesley home with a bouquet of flowers for a long overdue cuppa and catch-up.

Sgt Bennett said: “The letter really warmed my heart and when I met Ann again it all came flooding back. I recall returning to see her the day after her father’s death as I was concerned she might be on her own. I just wanted to see if she was OK and if there was anything else I could do to help.

“I’m humbled that she still holds our conversations at the time dearly. It’s what policing is all about: caring for people when they are vulnerable and lending a helping hand.

“My son is a Police Cadet and I’ve used this as an example to him about how a police officer’s interactions with our communities on a daily basis really matter and can leave a lasting impression.”

Ann’s letter asked Keith to cast his mind back to 19 May 2001 but admitted “I know you’ve by now met millions of people so to ask you to remember just one is a lot but you both (Keith and his police colleague) were so kind and caring and the next day returned as you were both worried about me. 

“I wanted to write to the Chief Constable at the time to commend you but never got round to it. I hope you don’t mind me writing now but I just had to…say thanks for all you did for me and the compassion you showed.”

Keith Bennett a few years ago as a WMP dog handler
Keith Bennett a few years ago as a WMP dog handler 

We have arrested and charged a man in connection with the robbery on Mrs Preston in Billesley on 30 January.

Robert Vickers, aged 38 of no fixed address, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday (12 Feb) and was remanded into prison ahead of his next Crown Court appearance on 11 March.

He has also been charged with three burglaries that occurred in January in Grange Road, Kings Heath; Anderton Park Road in Moseley; and a dental practice in Springfield Road, Kings Heath.  

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