Police officers have been recognised for their investigative work which helped put two men behind bars following the murder of a grandfather from Buckinghamshire.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Brown, Detective Inspector Nicola Underhill, Detective Sergeant Victoria Hunt, PC Daniel Morris, Detective Constable James Heath, Detective Constable Kevin Smith and Detective Constable Kay Chahal have all been recognised for their contributions to a murder investigation in High Wycombe at the 2024 Chief Constable’s Awards.

In August 2021, two men were jailed by Thames Valley Police for unlawfully killing Andrew Ballantyne on Micklefield Road in High Wycombe, with three others also pleading guilty to charges of violent disorder.

Whilst on patrol on the evening of July 31, 2021, PC Morris saw the men gathered around the victim, who was on the floor. When officers arrived on the scene, all but one of the men fled, with the remaining offender continuing to film Mr Ballantyne’s unresponsive body.

PC Morris made attempts to grab the remaining man, but he managed to escape into a nearby garden. The officer was however able to identify discarded items, which led to the eventual conviction of the fleeing suspect.

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DSI Brown and DI Underhill helmed the consequent investigation into the murder, using a range of techniques to obtain evidence, and DC Smith and Heath supported the family, securing “gratitude and confidence”, in their roles as family liaison officers.

Meanwhile, DS Hunt and DC Chahal reviewed the material, prepared case files and worked with the prosecution team to seek the truth of what had occurred in the “complex” killing.

DSI Brown said: “It is wonderful to receive the recognition for the outstanding commitment and dedication of the team involved in this operation.

“This was a very challenging and complex homicide investigation and I'm really proud of the whole team in getting justice for the bereaved family.”

DC Kevin Smith added: “I am grateful to receive the recognition for my role in the investigation.

“The award is a reflection of the work carried out by the team as a whole (in) getting justice for the family.”