A POLICE inspector who wrestled a suicidal woman from the path of an oncoming train said “it was instinctive” to save her, despite the risk to his own life.

Inspector Ian Stevenson, now retired, was awarded the Chief Constable’s Commendation on Tuesday night for his actions in Salisbury on May 6.

The woman, who had a history of mental health issues, had called the police to say she was on a railway line waiting for a train to end her own life.

Insp Stevenson found her on the tracks after spotting the light from her mobile phone. He heard a train horn sound and dashed across the line to speak to the woman, who said she was going to commit suicide.

“I noticed the train coming and she basically stepped on the track in front of it,” he said.

He pulled her out of the way, but said “she was very strong and she fought and struggled to break free” as the train passed them “very, very close”.

“The two PCSOs who arrived as I was pulling her off the track were basically holding their breath as the train passed by, because they didn’t know if we would make it or not,” he added.

He said he “didn’t really think” about the fact the train might hit him if he intervened and said his focus was “very much more on her than anyone else”.

“You’re in that situation where it’s just built into you that your job is to save life, and as a decent human being you don’t want to see people suffer, so for me it was instinctive to tackle her.”

He has not heard from the woman since, but said he hoped she received all the help she needed.

“She probably wouldn’t even know my name,” he added.

The 51-year-old inspector, who worked with Wiltshire Police for 30 years, was recognised for his actions at the Wiltshire Police Force Awards. He said he was “very surprised, very proud, very humbled” to be nominated.

“I just did my job,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting accolades or anything. For me it was an award not just for me, but for all the police officers and staff who do huge amounts of really good work up and down the country every day and get very little recognition.”

A police spokesman said: “Insp Stevenson’s professional and brave actions, which saw him putting his own life in danger to save another, represents the highest traditions of the Police service.”