Christopher John THORNTON

aka  thorno

New South Wales Police Force

Regd. # 24117

Rank: Probationary Constable – appointed 7 August 1987

Constable – appointed 7 August 1988

Senior Constable – death

Stations? Brisbane Waters GD’s ( 5 years ), Brisbane Waters HWP from 1989 ( Gosford )

ServiceFrom pre August 1987  to  13 April 2002 = 15 years Service

AwardsNo find on It’s An Honour

Born:  28 April 1966

Died:  Saturday  13 April 2002

Cause:  Motor Vehicle Accident – Driver

Location:  Hillview St & Nambucca Drive, Woy Woy

Age:  35

Funeral date:  Friday  19 April 2002

Funeral location:  Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral 

Buried site?

Monument Location:  Hillview St & Nambucca Dve, Woy Woy ( Stainless steel cross )

 

Chris Thornton

Chris Thornton

Barry and Freada Thornton with their son Chris at his graduation in 1987

Barry and Freada Thornton with their son Chris at his graduation in 1987

 

Touch plate for Chris Thornton at the National Police Wall of Remembrance, Canberra.

Touch plate for Chris Thornton at the National Police Wall of Remembrance, Canberra.

 

About 6.10pm on 13 April, 2002 the senior constable was driving a Highway Patrol vehicle in Hillview Street, Woy Woy. When the vehicle reached the intersection of Nambucca Drive, it collided with another vehicle before leaving the roadway and hitting a power pole. Senior Constable Thornton sustained extensive injuries and died at the scene of the accident.

 

The constable was born in 1966 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 7 August, 1987. At the time of his death he was attached to the Brisbane Water Highway Patrol.

Christopher IS mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance

 Location of collision

 

 

The cross we made for you and put in still looks as beautiful today as when we first placed it. I will always miss you my brother from another mother. I will miss sharing our birthdays together and miss your stupid sense of humor, love you always "Plod". Miss you forever! X

The cross we made for you and put in still looks as beautiful today as when we first placed it. I will always miss you my brother from another mother. I will miss sharing our birthdays together and miss your stupid sense of humor, love you always “Plod”. Miss you forever! X  Sim McCarthy – NSW Fallen Police FB Group. 19 April 2017

 

 

 

In April 2002, Senior Constable Chris Thornton was involved in a pursuit of a speeding motorist when his vehicle was struck by another vehicle that failed to stop. Thornton died as a result of the injuries received when his vehicle collided with a pole. The offending vehicle was located and the driver arrested and charged.

http://unionsafe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/NileInquirySubmission.doc

Policeman who paid ultimate price

April 20 2002

 

Lean on me ... grieving colleagues comfort each other. Photo: Liam Driver

Lean on me … grieving colleagues comfort each other. Photo: Liam Driver

Police officers were again united in grief yesterday in mourning one of their own for the second time in less than two weeks.

Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral was a sea of blue as hundreds of officers remembered Senior Constable Chris Thornton, 35, killed when his patrol car crashed into a power pole in Woy Woy last Saturday.

After the service, police lined both sides of the road to form a guard of honour as hundreds more, including acting Commissioner Ken Moroney, marched to the sombre beat of a drum.

A 56-year-old man has been charged in relation to the incident, which has rocked the force just weeks after Constable Glenn McEnallay was shot dead in a car chase in Sydney.

Many officers at yesterday’s service had donned their dress uniforms on April 9 for Constable McEnallay‘s funeral.

The Police Minister, Michael Costa, was at yesterday’s service, slipping quietly in and out of the cathedral, almost unnoticed among the crowd of more than 1000.

Mr Moroney used the occasion to call for public support.

“While nothing can make up for his passing, the heartfelt reaction of the communities Chris grew up in, then later served, will mean his death was not in vain,” Mr Moroney said.

“It has also made people realise the extraordinary work our police do in creating a safer society.”

His words were echoed by the Anglican Dean of Newcastle, the Very Rev Graeme Lawrence, who called on society to renew its respect for members of the police.

“In some ways that word is an old-fashioned concept, but one we would do well to revive,” he said.

“As a person and a police officer, Chris earned that respect, admiration and affection.”

Senior Constable Thornton‘s partner of six years, Sarah Matthews, stood alongside Dean Lawrence in the street as the hearse moved slowly away to the beat of the drum.

Earlier she had wept as close friend John Kinney told the gathering how “Thorno” had paid the ultimate price of police service.

“He swerved to miss another vehicle and chose to risk himself for another person, paying the ultimate price for his courage and honour,” Mr Kinney said.

“To me that is Christopher John Thornton, my mate, a man anyone would be proud to say they knew.”

The Newcastle Herald

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/04/19/1019020708933.html

 

 

 

 

Constable’s death was devastating

North metropolitan region police commander, assistant commissioner Bob Waites, has described the death of senior constable Chris Thornton on April 13 as “devastating”.

“His death has had a dramatic effect on his colleagues, more so, because he was one of the first people to offer help to workmates after hours, and also at work,” assistant commissioner Waites said.

“I had the pleasure and honour of knowing Chris personally.

“He was a person who loved to have a good time, while also having a lot of common sense,” he said.

Senior Constable Thornton, who lived with his partner of six years, Sarah, attended the Police College at Goulburn in 1987.

Since his graduation that same year, Senior Constable Thornton had worked within the Brisbane Water Command, initially as a general duties officer, before joining highway patrol in 1989.

Ten of his 15 years as a policeman were spent working as a highway patrol officer.

Senior Constable Thornton was travelling north along Hillview St in Woy Woy about 6.10pm on Saturday, April 13, when the marked vehicle he was driving crashed into a power pole.

The 35-year-old police officer died at the scene as a result of his injuries.

A 56-year-old man, Leonard Allan Rowley, has been charged with several driving offences in connection with the accident.

Commissioner Peter Ryan and Deputy Commissioner Operations Dave Madden attended the scene on the night of the accident.

The pole on Hillview St where Senior Constable Thornton was killed.

The pole on Hillview St where Senior Constable Thornton was killed.

http://www.peninsulanews.info/2002/0423/default.aspx?item=Death

 

A-G urged to appeal against sentence

Posted

The New South Wales Opposition has called on the Attorney-General to override the Director of Public Prosecutions and launch an appeal against a sentence given to the driver of a car that hit and killed a highway patrol officer.

Leonard Allan Rowley walked free after receiving a two-year suspended sentence for an incident that claimed the life of Senior Constable Chris Thornton in his highway patrol car on Hillview Street in Woy Woy.

Opposition leader John Brogden says, given that Rowley had been drinking, was unlicensed and fled the scene, it is unacceptable that the DPP will not lodge an appeal.

The patrol officer’s widow Sarah Matthews says it is an insult and urges the Attorney-General to step in.

“It astounds me,” Ms Matthews said.

“This is a legal system that Chris believed in, he stood behind and he enforced every day and now it’s let him down.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2003-10-20/a-g-urged-to-appeal-against-sentence/1496008

 

 

 

Deadly toll

By Jonathan Pearlman
November 6, 2004

Alone in his patrol car, Chris Thornton had the police siren flashing as he chased a white sedan through Woy Woy.

Thornton, 35, a highway patrolman, had been in the force for 15 years. He was, his mother says, “the best driver I have ever seen”.

The reason for the chase that night in April 2002 is unknown. Both cars were seen travelling at high speed. Thornton was about 50 metres behind.

Meanwhile, Leonard Rowley, 56, an unlicensed driver, was driving to his local KFC to pick up dinner. He saw the first car flash past and judged – wrongly – that he had time to turn out in front of the patrol car. Thornton tried to avoid Rowley’s car but clipped the back, veered onto the wrong side of the road and hit a power pole.

Thornton died on the spot, which is marked by a permanent stainless-steel cross. Rowley later received a suspended two-year sentence.

“His life from the age of 12 was about helping people,” says Thornton’s mother, Freada Thornton. “He was in the surf club and he was there to rescue people and then he went into the force and he was doing the same thing.” His father, Barry Thornton, says: “He loved life. He had been in Gosford for 15 years and was so popular with the community there.”

Police pursuits are, says Barry, a necessary evil: “If they don’t catch the criminals there will be more deaths on the roads. The ones that they’re in pursuit of are the idiots that have done the wrong thing to start with.”

But pursuits have come at a cost to the NSW Police Department. Fifteen officers have died as a result of high-speed chases, beginning with the death of Constable George Boore in 1937.

Details provided by the NSW Police Association show a steady stream of fatalities involving cars and motorcycles. The full list of casualties is as follows:

April 2, 1937: Constable George Boore;

June 2, 1954: Constable Cecil Sewell;

November 14, 1958: Constable Brian Boaden;

December 23, 1958: Constable William Lord;

October 14, 1961: Constable James Kinnane;

September 7, 1963: Constable Colin Robb;

December 2, 1976: Constable Terry Moncur;

January 3, 1985: Constable Wayne Rixon;

July 25, 1985: Detective-Constable Steven Tier;

October 20, 1987: Constable Themelis Macarounas;

August 24, 1988: Constable Peter Carter;

June 13, 1989: Constable Peter Figtree;

June 14, 1989: Senior Constable Glenn Rampling;

January 14, 2001: Senior Constable James Affleck;

April 13, 2002: Senior Constable Christopher Thornton.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Police-Pursuits/Deadly-toll/2004/11/05/1099547386960.html

 

 

 

 

Cross removal is temporary. Energy Australia has temporarily relocated a memorial cross at Hillview St, Woy Woy, after replacing a power polie earlier last week. The memorial cross was in remembrance of Senior Constable Chris Thornton, who lost his life in a car accident in 2002. An Energy Australia spokesperson said the cross had to be temporarily removed so the new police to be place in the correct position. Energy Australia spoke with the local police, who consulted the family of the deceased police officer, before the cross was temporarily relocated, the spokesperson said. The cross has been temporarily located nearby and will be returned closer to its original position near the police within three weeks. Clare Graham, 17 August 2007.

Peninsula News, page 5
20 August 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearts go out to family of fallen officer

FREADA and Barry Thornton’s hearts skipped a beat when they heard about the death of young detective Will Crews.

It may be nearly nine years since their son Chris Thornton was killed on duty, but the Blackalls Park couple said it still felt like yesterday.

“You learn to try and get on with your life, you have to,” Mrs Thornton said yesterday.

“But it is a shock.

“Another one, another young life. So, so young.”

Mrs Thornton said her heart went out to Senior Constable Crews’s family as they attempt to deal with the loss.

“We know what it is like and we know it took us four or five years before we could get ourselves going again,” she said.

“We just couldn’t do anything for years, it gutted us.”
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Senior Constable Thornton was in pursuit at Woy Woy on April 13, 2002, when his vehicle hit a power pole, killing him.

The Thorntons will attend another police remembrance day at the end of this month, like they have done every year since that day. The honour roll read out at the Christ Church Cathedral service will contain another name this year.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/460097/hearts-go-out-to-family-of-fallen-officer/#slide=1

 

 

‘Our boys haven’t been forgotten’: Policemen honoured in Brisbane Water row

September 15, 2015 3:16pm

(L-R) Sarah Matthews, Kylie Kerr and Tracey Holt remember their police officer partners at Gosford waterfront. Brisbane Water LAC officers will be taking to the water in honour of the policemen.

(L-R) Sarah Matthews, Kylie Kerr and Tracey Holt remember their police officer partners at Gosford waterfront. Brisbane Water LAC officers will be taking to the water in honour of the policemen.

When Sarah Matthews returned home after her shift at Gosford Hospital on the evening of April 13, 2002 and spotted a row of waiting police cars she thought the neighbours were having a noisy party.

“It never struck me what was coming next,” remembers the emergency nurse who was told the worst — her fiance Senior-Constable Chris Thornton had been killed on duty hours earlier.

“It didn’t hit me. Even when I was told. I don’t think that’s something that ever leaves you.”

This week Miss Matthews, Kylie Kerr and Tracey Holt will get together to remember their partners, Sen-Constable Thornton, Sen-Constable Peter Gordon Wilson and Sergeant Richard Whittaker, who all died on duty while with the Brisbane Water Local Area Command.

(L-R) Brisbane Water Inspector Paul Nicholls, Tracey Holt, Brisbane Water Commander Daniel Sullivan, Sarah Matthews and Kylie Kerr at Gosford Waterfront ahead of the NSW Police Legacy row. Picture: Mark Scott

(L-R) Brisbane Water Inspector Paul Nicholls, Tracey Holt, Brisbane Water Commander Daniel Sullivan, Sarah Matthews and Kylie Kerr at Gosford Waterfront ahead of the NSW Police Legacy row. Picture: Mark Scott

On Thursday officers from Brisbane Water LAC will take part in a paddle to raise money for NSW Police Legacy to support the families of fallen officers.

“You never want to be a part of Legacy but now we are part of this unique group and without Legacy we wouldn’t have each other,” Miss Matthews said.

But for two of the women, the close bond was forged by their shared loss and haunting similarities in how their partners lost their lives.

Sen-Constable Thornton, 35, died in a motor vehicle accident while on patrol in Woy Woy in 2002, while Mrs Kerr’s long-term partner Sen-Constable Wilson, 41, was killed when he was hit by a car while carrying out speed checks on the M1 at Somersby in 2006.

Both men were based at Brisbane Water LAC, both died in car accidents on a Saturday night, and both had the same patrol car number — 202.

Senior Constable Peter Gordon Wilson with fiance Kylie Kerr.

Senior Constable Peter Gordon Wilson with fiance Kylie Kerr.

“This special event means our boys haven’t been forgotten,” Miss Matthews said, adding that the support of Legacy has enabled her to move on. “You have to take that step forward. You can’t be angry, because that just eats away at you.”

Senior Constable Chris Thornton was killed on duty during a high-speed pursuit at Woy Woy in 2002.

Senior Constable Chris Thornton was killed on duty during a high-speed pursuit at Woy Woy in 2002.

“This special event means our boys haven’t been forgotten,” Miss Matthews said, adding that the support of Legacy has enabled her to move on. “You have to take that step forward. You can’t be angry, because that just eats away at you.”

“This special event means our boys haven’t been forgotten,” Miss Matthews said, adding that the support of Legacy has enabled her to move on. “You have to take that step forward. You can’t be angry, because that just eats away at you.”

Mrs Holt, whose husband Sgt Whittaker was stationed at the Gosford drug unit and was involved in drug investigations at the time of his death when he died from a brain haemorrhage in 1991, said the annual paddle is a “beautiful day”. “It is amazing the effort Daniel Sullivan and the team put in to keep the memory going of old work mates and have a good time doing it,” she said.

Sergeant Richard Whittaker who died on duty with Brisbane Water Local Area Command in 1991. Picture: Supplied

Sergeant Richard Whittaker who died on duty with Brisbane Water Local Area Command in 1991. Picture: Supplied

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/central-coast/our-boys-havent-been-forgotten-policemen-honoured-in-brisbane-water-row/story-fngr8h0p-1227528821582

 

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