THIS is the man who helped police catch a killer just minutes after he struck.
Only now can we reveal the full role 32-year-old Andrew Nicholls played in catching murderer Shane Haynes minutes after he knifed and fatally wounded 40-year-old Geraldine Brocklehurst – known locally as Gez.
Andrew, who lives in Huddersfield town centre, was walking down Lower Fitzwilliam Street at around 1.20am on Thursday, October 4, when he spotted Haynes – who he didn’t know – dressed in dark clothes.
Andrew crossed the road and walked up a snicket and steps leading to the Great Northern Retail Park and on to the large business estate.
But he hadn’t gone far when he heard Gez shouting and screaming.
He said: “I turned round and saw him dragging Gez to the ground and he looked like he was punching her with both hands.
“I shouted and ran after him and when I got to the top of the steps he was at the bottom. I saw he was holding something silver in his hands and at that point I thought it was some sort of cosh.
“He ran off and as I ran past Gez I shouted at her to call the police. The man ran across Leeds Road and I followed him until he went down the first entrance into PC World.’’
Haynes vanished round the back of the store on the well-lit Phoenix Retail Park, but Andrew knew there was nowhere for him to escape behind the buildings as it is protected by large fences at the back.
So he stood on Leeds Road and called the police, telling them a man had attacked a woman and he had followed him.
He watched all the time to see if Haynes came back out.
Andrew said: “I knew he had gone into a dead end so I stayed out of sight so he couldn’t see me.’’
Haynes reappeared, but had dumped some clothes and was only wearing shorts and a T-shirt. He walked into the Jewson car park next door and hid in some bushes.
Andrew said a police van arrived within a couple of minutes and immediately found and arrested Haynes after Andrew pointed out his hiding place.
By the time the man was arrested, police and paramedics were tending to Gez and Andrew never saw her again.
He said: “If I’d not been there, he’d have escaped and a killer would have been on the loose.’’