Bravery award for Ely mother
POLICEWOMAN Karen Miles-Holdaway has been recognised for her supreme courage after risking her life to rescue victims of the July 7 bombings in London. Karen had been on the beat for just five weeks when she got the call to go onto the frontline of the un
POLICEWOMAN Karen Miles-Holdaway has been recognised for her supreme courage after risking her life to rescue victims of the July 7 bombings in London.
Karen had been on the beat for just five weeks when she got the call to go onto the frontline of the underground emergency operation.
She was sent into the first carriage of the tube train which had taken the full blast of the bomb at Russell Square.
Now her bravery has won her the Metropolitan Police Commissioner's highest award for supreme courage, outstanding professionalism and compassion.
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Karen, who has a teenage daughter and lives in Ely, recalled the aftermath of the July 7 bombings which brought London to a standstill and sent shockwaves across the world.
"It was absolutely horrendous," she said. "It was like a war zone. People were coming out of the tunnel soaked in blood and others were trapped and screaming for help.
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"We didn't have enough stretchers and we were using people's coats and blankets sent from a nearby hotel to drag out the injured.
"The ambulance crew had been round assessing and tagging everyone and we were just working through the carriage. People were crying out to be helped but we knew they weren't going to make it. They were dying around us."
Karen had just finished her 18 months' initial training at the Hendon-based Police Training School and had completed five weeks of street duties at Camden Police Station when the bombings happened.
She and her colleagues were piled into a mini bus and sent to deal with the emergency, which at that time was thought to have been caused by a power surge.
"We sort of knew it was more than that," added Karen. "We just had a feeling about it but no-one panicked. Our skipper said if we didn't think we could handle it we didn't have to go. But no-one refused. We knew if we didn't do it someone else would have to go. As I was sitting on that mini bus I sent a text to my husband to tell him I loved him.
"When we got the station we ran down onto the tube line. The train was quite a long way in and I remember thinking there could be a secondary device. I thought if I start walking back and it goes off I'm going to die anyway so I might as well get on with it. I was too busy to really think about it too much.