5:30am Wednesday 4th June 2014
By Dominic Gilbert
POLICE Sergeant Marcus Beresford-Smith has been commended for his role in keeping the roads around Swindon safe for more than two decades.
During his 21 years with Wiltshire Police Marcus also played a role in the Sian O’Callaghan murder investigation and helped save a three-year-old girl who was abducted in Wales.
And on Monday he received a long service and good conduct award at the 2014 police awards .
In 2006, he was one of two officers who gave chase to a vehicle driving erratically on the M4. After a 14-mile chase, the officers stopped the car and found Craig Sweeney, who had abducted a three-year-old girl from her home in Wales and sexually assaulted her. Sweeney is now serving a life sentence.
“It was just a case of being in the right place at the right time, which is how a lot of people end up being caught,” said Marcus.
“It was a routine night on patrol when we saw a car committing traffic offences. We had a pursuit, at the end of which we located a young girl.
”Obviously he was arrested and it turned out the little girl had been abducted. He was convicted and sentenced to life.”
Marcus spent five years as response officer in Swindon before spending 12 years in serious collisions and roads policing. He has now returned to Swindon as a response sergeant, and has dealt with a great many road accidents.
He was the first officer on the scene of the accident on the A419 in May 2013 which claimed the lives of teenagers Shaya Leigh and Kerry-Lee O’Leary-Staniford.
“When I was on the serious collision investigations team probably the most memorable case was about eight years ago when we convicted someone for causing death by dangerous driving when they had not actually come into collision with the other vehicle,” he said. “He had been racing with another car, which came into collision with a different car.
“The drivers of both cars died as a result, and that was a huge investigation, along with CPS to bring a prosecution, at the Crown Court in Salisbury.
“Another that stands out was a fatal accident on the A419 in which two girls died. There had been five people in the car with the two girls in the front and three boys in the back. I was the first officer on the scene.
“The support of my family is hugely important as something totally different to take you away from that situation.”
Marcus said he does not intend to retire any time soon, and will remain an asset on the roads.
“This is a very proud day, and we are recognised for the commitment that we and our families give. My family have been very supportive over the years, because the job makes you miss birthdays, Christmasses and anniversaries,” he said.
“Twenty years of service is a huge commitment, both for myself and for my family.
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