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Recipients Confernece 2011

Outstanding service as Family Liaison Officer: Darren Ayers

In May 2009, Karen Austin received the devastating news that her son Darcy had been fatally shot.  Like every mother that gets this news Karen life was turned upside down, and her suffering was made worst, when as time went on, the police had not been able to charge anybody with his murder.  Karen met her FLO DC Darren Ayers at the beginning of her journey, and he has been extremely supportive.


Karen said of Darren:  “Darren has been honest, compassionate, kind and assertive from the beginning.  He has enabled communication between my family and the police, and where possible, has supported our every request.  Darren has shown our family the utmost empathy throughout the time he has been assisting us, while always maintaining the utmost professionalism.  We are so happy to be able to thank him with this recognition award”.


Roger Costello Award For Making A Difference: Michael Shepherd & Diane O’Kane


A joint award in recognition of the tireless campaign mounted by Michael shepherd and Diane O’ Kane after the murder of their partner and daughter respectively.  Emma O’ Kane died as a result of a bottle being thrown in a Manchester pub in an incidence of violence that she was in no way part of.  Emma left behind her partner, Michael and three young children, after this mindless act of violence tragically ended her life.  Emma’s family were horrified that an innocent bystander could become a victim of homicide, and were further horrified as they realised how many people, as innocent as Emma, received serious injury or were killed in his way each year.  They wanted to change that and launched the No More Tears Campaign, in an attempt to get bars and clubs across the UK to convert to polycarbonate glasses and bottles, reducing the number of death and injury that occurs nationally.  They were nominated by DS John Murdoch, and although we ask for wording to be limited on the nomination form to 50 words, in true John style, he gave us 80........


He said: “On 27 December 2009, Emma O'Kane was tragically killed when she was struck by a shard of glass from a bottle thrown into a crowded pub. Since then Emma’s partner Michael Shepherd, Emma’s partner, and Diane O Kane, Emma’s mother, have campaigned to raise awareness of polycarbonate glasses through the www.glasstears.co.uk website. Michael produced a series of six powerful radio adverts with Steve Penk's 96.2 Revolution Radio to tackle the issues of alcohol related violent crime in Oldham, where Serious Violent Crime has reduced by 42% in 2010.”

We are delighted to congratulate both Michael and Emma on the success of their campaign and present them with this year’s Roger Costello Award for Making a Difference.

Roger Costello Award For Making A Difference: Sgt John Murdoch

Dianne Hayes has worked with our next recipient for some time, and has always been proud to work alongside a police officer with such passion and commitment.  She said of DS John Murdoch:

“John should be recognised for his outstanding contribution and commitment to the Glass Tears Project. He has continually sourced funding and rallied friends into offering their services free of charge, to help raise awareness of the dangers of glasses and bottles in pubs. The amazing support he has given Michael throughout his long journey is something I have been proud to witness, he is a true inspiration and has helped Michael to see that something positive really can come out of something so tragic.”

Outstanding Service as a Victim Care Worker: Marie McCourt

Marie McCourt’s daughter, Helen, was murdered 23 years ago.  Although there were charges brought against an individual, a trial, and a lengthy custodial sentence, Helens body has never been recovered.  Despite having to face a parole hearing all too often, as the man convicted of Helens murder attempts to gain release, Marie has tirelessly and with total dedication offered support to other individuals affected by homicide for 15 years.  Marie’s husband John Sandwell nominated her for this award, on behalf of the SAMM Merseyside Board of Trustees, and said:

“Marie joined SAMM Merseyside 15 years ago and since then she has devoted herself to helping and supporting victims’ families. This she has done unstintingly with no consideration for herself or her time, helping numerous families through their trauma in an effort to help them to move on with their lives.”

It is with pleasure that we present the award for victim care to Marie McCourt.

Outstanding Service to Victims and Secondary Victims of Violent Crime: Andrew Mcgowan

Andrew displayed such genuine compassion for the individuals we were assisting that our first conversation led to more, and so began our association with him and the firm he works for, Neil Hudgell Associates.  Andrew has assisted us and many families and individuals we support in many areas across the CJS such as coroners, inquests, CICA appeals and claims for compensation that are out of the ordinary.  In many cases he has done this free of charge and diligently, with the care, empathy and compassion that those who have been affected by such serious crimes deserve.  It is a pleasure, by way of thanks from us and the many individuals he has assisted, to recognise the commitment and dedication Andrew has always shown to victims and secondary victims of serious violent crime and homicide.


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