By Len A.Hynds

It was in 1954 that I had dealings with a certain villain for the first time. He ran a haulage business but I will not mention his name, as at the last time I heard, his grand-son now runs the business, and who probably has no idea what a reputation his grandfather had.

My man had been pointed out to me on several occasions as being a big league player, and not the normal petty crook. He had the reputation of being very hard, one to be wary of, and suspected to be in the armed hold-up category.

One night on the beat, walking in for my break, I was walking past his house and saw that all the lights were on, and as I got closer, I could see him sitting on the low wall at the front, with his head in his hands, and his body appeared to be shaking. I stopped and asked him if he was alright, and looking up and seeing me, I realised that this very hard man had been crying. He told me in a broken voice that his baby son was dying in the house, that all the family had gathered, but he just had to come outside. He said that he had tried to get a doctor but had been unsuccessful, and ambulances would only attend if ordered by a doctor, or if there had been an accident.

I took him inside his house where lots of family were gathered around his wife cradling the baby in her arms. The baby had a very high temperature, was shaking occasionally and the little chaps eyes were rolling. I thought it was infantile convulsions, but had no idea how to deal with it. I quickly wrote a note giving it to one of the men there to run all the way into my station for the Sergeant to send a car quickly to pick-up the police surgeon and bring him to the house.

I knew that the babes high temperature had to be reduced quickly, so getting the babies bath filled with water at body temperature, I took most of the babes clothes off, and holding him, immersed him up to the neck, whilst applying a cold compress to the forehead. The convulsions stopped, and taking him out I dried him, just wrapping him in a blanket, and giving him back to mum. The convulsions started again, so I repeated the immersion into warm water with the cold compress held against his head. Again the convulsions stopped, and again I took him out, dried him and gave him back to mum in that soft blanket.

By the time the doctor arrived he appeared to be sleeping peacefully, and I wondered if what I had done had done any good, I told the doctor what I had done, and felt quite relieved when he said I had done well although it had all been rather basic.

The family were profuse in their thanks, and I remember as I looked at the father, and thought, “The next time you do an armed robbery, will you hesitate if a policeman gets in your line of fire?”

By the look on his face I thought he might.