Former police officer Cheryl is honoured for work on Libyan cadets rape case

Cheryl Pinner with Assistant Chief Constable, Dan Vajzovic

Cheryl Pinner with Assistant Chief Constable, Dan Vajzovic - Credit: Archant

A retired police detective who played a key role in bringing two rapists to justice has been honoured for her ‘outstanding’ work.

Cheryl Pinner says the case of Libyan cadets who attacked their victim in a park in Cambridge was ‘one of the most hideous’ she had seen in her 35-year career.

Ibrahim Abugtila, 23, and Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, were found guilty and each jailed for 12 years following the attack in October 2014.

Now the mum-of-two, who retired from Cambridgeshire Police last year and currently works in business development at city centre law firm Slater and Gordon, has been recognised with two prestigious gongs – a crown court judge’s commendation and the Assistant Chief Constable’s Award.

Cheryl, from Cambridge, said she was ‘thrilled to bits’ but dedicated the awards to her former colleagues.

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“It fills me with pride, but I always knew that I was part of a team,” she said.

“Without other people supporting you it would make your role so much more difficult.

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“But so long as it made a difference to the victims and their families I’m really happy.”

Cheryl, 52, joined the Metropolitan police in 1980 as a cadet and worked her way up the ranks to detective constable with Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Part of the major crime unit, she also worked as a family liaison officer supporting victims and keeping them updated with the police investigation.

She added: “If we got it right with the victims, we got it right with the investigation. It’s not just a snapshot into their lives at the time, we actually made it better for the future by providing the help and support they needed to carry on.

“I just care about people and when crimes happened I wanted to make sure that they were looked after.

“That’s why I’m in the job I do now. From an ethical perspective and having used Slater and Gordon in the past they put the client’s needs and welfare very high up on their to-do list.”

Cheryl picked up her awards last month in a ceremony at Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Welwyn Garden headquarters supported by her husband Al and her parents.

In 2009 she was recognised for her work with victims and their families following the 7/7 bombings in London and is set to receive a further award later this year.

She said: “I was working on the case of a tragic shooting of a Traveller in Bedfordshire and I built up a really close relationship with the Traveller community. The week I retired an enormous bouquet of flowers arrived at headquarters.

“It was lovely to know I’d made a difference to the family.

“I do feel blessed because I have thoroughly enjoyed my police career.”

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