Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan presented a special certificate to Leon, 11, to acknowledge his courage. She told him: “Really well done. It would have been really easy to have thought ‘this is really scary’ and just left the room. I think there are many children older than you who wouldn’t have dealt as well with that situation. You just stayed calm and got everything ordered.”
Leon’s certificate reads: “In recognition of your bravery and to commend your quick thinking to ensure police were contacted.”
Leon’s mum Vickie had been in a relationship with Daniel Newton for a few months before they had their first argument on 2 December 2019.
Angry that she’d come home from work late, during the row he pushed her down the stairs, picked her up and then threw her into the kitchen, where he attacked her on the floor with a kitchen knife. Vickie broke her hand trying to defend herself and Newton started to strangle her.
But Leon had seen what was happening and, shouting to his sister Lily, 10, and brother Ethan, nine, to stay safe and out of the way, he ran into the kitchen. There, he saw the vacuum cleaner, picked up the pipe and nozzle and hit Newton on his back with them.
Newton was so startled he loosened his grip and Vickie was able to tell Leon to ring the police. Leon told his younger brother to tell the neighbours what had happened. When Newton ran off, Leon ran out to ask neighbours to call the police and Vickie was also able to make a call from her own phone. Officers from Basildon Local Policing Team arrived quickly and Newton was arrested the next day.
Leon told ACC Nolan: “After I’d finished hitting Danny and weakened his grip, I told Lily to go and find Mummy’s phone, I told Ethan to go and knock for one of the neighbours and I just focused on Mummy.
“Afterwards, the police came really fast.”
Newton admitted two counts of causing actual bodily harm but denied causing grievous bodily harm. However, he was convicted on 26 June 2020 at Basildon Crown Court and jailed for a total of two years and seven months.
PC Emma Taylor had joined Basildon Domestic Abuse Investigation Team just four months before the assault. She investigated the case and was so impressed by Leon’s bravery and quick thinking that she organised the presentation and also approached Legoland for tickets so Leon and his family can enjoy a day out.
She says: “What struck me was how brave Leon was and how he realised he had to do something to protect his mum. Tackling his mum’s attacker like that was amazing and his intervention saved her life.
“I wanted him to get the recognition he deserved because he could have been too scared to intervene but, instead, he just went for it and that needed to be acknowledged.”
Because of Newton’s conviction, Emma says that any future partner who makes an enquiry under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) will be told about his criminal record.
Emma adds: “The scheme is often known as Clare’s Law and it allows people, or concerned relatives or friends, to make an inquiry about someone they are in a relationship with, if they are worried that person may have a history of violence towards their partners. Vickie’s own bravery in supporting the prosecution means that Newton’s convictions will be disclosed to future partners, if they make an application for disclosure.”