Andrew Pappas awarded Bravery Decoration for preventing sexual assault of pregnant nurse

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The 2022 Australian Bravery Decorations have been announced and they recognise the courageous acts of 26 people who selflessly put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others.

In announcing the recipients, Governor-General David Hurley said: “The awards I am announcing today recognise people who, in a moment of peril, were selfless and brave.”

“Confronted with danger, they chose to help others,” the Governor-General added.

Receiving a Group Bravery Citation this year was Greek Australian, Andrew Pappas.

Speaking with The Greek Herald, Andrew said: “It’s a real honour to be awarded a Bravery Citation and I’m so proud that I was a part of a community effort where a lot of people stood up and took action in the way we did.”

Andrew, alongside Jeremy McLeod and Ben Russell, received the group award for their actions during a rescue of a woman being assaulted in Melbourne in 2016.

On April 24, 2016, Andrew was riding his bike home on the Upfield bike path in Brunswick at approximately 10:30pm when he heard a woman scream.

The woman, a 31-year-old heavily pregnant nurse, had been tackled off her bike by a 21-year-old man and dragged into a small alcove along the path where the man tried to rape her.

The Brunswick bike path where the attempted rape took place on April 24, 2016. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Fairfax Media

“She was 20 weeks pregnant on the night of the incident and she was being assaulted,” the father-of-two said.

“There was an innocent person being attacked and I wanted to rectify that.”

As Andrew approached, the attacker fled and after checking the woman was okay, he gave chase.

“I didn’t have time to think about what was happening. I just acted on my instinct which was to pursue and make sure the guy wouldn’t get away with what he had done,” the 60-year-old said.

Both Jeremy McLeod and Ben Russell heard the woman screaming from inside their nearby apartment and with another man, they ran downstairs where they saw Andrew in pursuit of the offender.

Joining Andrew, the men chased the attacker down, tackling him to the ground and restraining him until police arrived.

Andrew Pappas poses for a photo on the Upfield bike path in Brunswick on October 27, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Fairfax Media

Speaking with The Age at the time, Detective Senior Constable Katherine Lavars said the men did “an amazing job.”

“There’s no doubt that without their help this investigation would have been very different,” she said.

The attacker pled guilty to attempted rape, was sentenced to 23 months in jail and received a four-year community correction order.

Some six months after the incident, Andrew met with the victim and her newborn baby.

“She was very thankful and grateful, but it was really beautiful to see that she was doing fine and that she had recovered,” he concluded.

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