Sunderland Samaritan saved the life of a vulnerable teenager she spotted barefoot and shivering alone on Roker beach
A good Samaritan has been praised by police for helping to save the life of a vulnerable school boy she found cold and alone in the North Sea.
Sue Smith was walking along the beach at Roker when she saw a boy paddling in the water.
After asking the teenager where his parents were, 13-year-old Layton repeatedly pointed out to sea. He was barefoot, and shivering uncontrollably due to the cold.
Sue, 49 sensed something was wrong and contacted Northumbria Police – but little did she know, a huge search operation was already under way to try and find Layton.
The youngster, who has autism, had been reported missing two hours earlier from Hylton Castle.
Layton was later reunited with his mum Mary Cowley, who was “sick with worry” after her son had disappeared shortly after 4.30pm on Monday, June 24.
Mary said: “He was riding his scooter with his grandma going to the shops, when all of a sudden, he just vanished.
“We didn’t think he will have gone far, but as we searched for him and time dragged on, I began to feel sick – I began to fear something serious had happened.
“I just couldn’t believe it when they said he’d been found down on the beach in Roker. We’ve never been down there before on foot – he must have remembered the route while we were on the bus or something.
“I can’t thank Sue enough for what she did. She saved my son’s life.”
In recognition of her actions, Sunderland College lecturer Sue was invited into Southwick Police Station to meet Mary and her family.
This week, she was presented with a Commander’s Compliment and greeted by Chief Inspector Sam Rennison and Inspector Steve Prested.
Sue said: “I just knew something wasn’t right. My husband and I were walking along the beach and saw this young lad who wasn’t wearing any shoes and had dropped some items of clothing in the water.
“I’m so relieved that Layton was safely reunited with his family. It was wonderful to meet his mother in the police station, and I’m blown away by this commendation – I just did what anybody would have done.”