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Brave woman risked life in drugs den to save man who cut his own throat

Jessica Bradley
Jessica Bradley

A young woman who risked her own safety when she forced her way into a drugs den to rescue a man who had cut his own throat is to receive one of the country’s top bravery awards.

Jessica Bradley was kicked and punched repeatedly as she battled to save the casualty from bleeding to death

The Army Cadet sprung into action when she heard glass smashing and someone screaming for help – and managed to stem the flow until 999 crews arrived.

Now the 22-year-old, from Upper Sound in Lerwick will be given the Order of St John’s gold life-saving medal at a ceremony at Edinburgh Castle on Thursday.

The award is the order’s highest – presented for “conspicuous acts of bravery” in which the recipient “endangered his or her own life.”

The drama unfolded as Miss Bradley and a friend, Claire Hendry, were leaving a house in Grodians, Lerwick, and heard someone yelling for an ambulance.

As they ran across the street towards the noise a young man emerged shouting: “He’s cut himself.”

Miss Bradley, an Army Cadet sergeant instructor, grabbed a first aid kit from her car and told her companion to telephone for help.

Inside the house she found two men struggling with each other.

She said: “I had to fight off the unhurt one, but managed to get a look at the other. He had a really serious throat wound and was bleeding badly.

“I managed to talk to him and calm him down enough to apply pressure to the wound.”

For 10 agonising minutes before the emergency services arrived, Miss Bradley had to fend off the other man, while attempting to keep the casualty calm.

The situation deteriorated when the injured man became violent, kicking and punching her repeatedly before he eventually broke away and locked himself in another room.

She added: “After that I kept talking to him through the door and managed to get him to press a blanket to the wound and he seemed to become calm again.”

It eventually took six police officers and two ambulance workers to subdue him enough to get him to hospital.

Miss Bradley joined the Shetland Independent Cadet Battery when she was just 12 because she was interested in the Army.

It was there she got her initial training in first aid, adding to her knowledge and skills later by volunteering as a first responder with the Scottish Ambulance Service.

She tried twice to join the Army, where she dreamed of becoming a medic, but was thwarted by her own health problems.

She now works for a company supporting the offshore oil and gas industry, and says she holds no bitterness towards the young man who attacked her while she was trying desperately to save his life.

She said: “I’ve got a lot of sympathy for anyone with the problems he had, but I’m glad to say he seems to have turned his life around and has actually done very well for himself. He is now working offshore.”

And she said she was totally overwhelmed by the recognition.

“At the time I didn’t think about being in any danger. I just did what I was trained to do and I’m proud of that. I’ve always wanted to be able to help people,” she added.

Her proud mother and father, Wynne and Derrick Bradley, will join their daughter at the ceremony to see her receive her medal from the new Prior of St John Scotland, Major General Mark Strudwick, the former General Officer Commanding the Army in Scotland.

Niall Bristow, a paramedic with 27 years experience attended the incident in May 2013, and supported Miss Bradley’s nomination for the award.

He said: “The scene was chaotic yet Jessica’s behaviour was driven by her desire to do her best for a fellow human being.

“She is a credit to her family, friends, the Army Cadet Force and herself.”