A FORMER detective who helped secure justice for the victims of a serial rapist has won a top award for her investigative work.
Tammy Phillips, who lived in Doveridge most of her life but now lives in Stoke-on-Trent, carried out the two-year investigation, which began with a single phone call from a female claiming to have been abused by Milan Babic.
It spiralled into one of the biggest cases of its kind for Staffordshire Police, with Babic going on to be convicted of 40 serious sexual offences against eight victims.
He even corrupted two of his sons into carrying out some of the rapes.
His reign of terror over three decades included blindfolding victims before raping them and filming some of the attacks.
Fifty-three-year-old Babic was last month handed a life sentence by a judge at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, who said he had shown no remorse for his crimes.
For Tammy, a former Denstone College pupil, seeing him brought to book was one of the biggest moments of her nine-year career as a police officer.
Now she has received an investigative services award from Staffordshire Police in recognition of her ‘exceptional’ work on the case.
The 33-year-old said she felt ‘happy’ to get the award.
But she added: “It was a really difficult case from the start.
“I spent two years on it, from August 2011 to August this year, and the details that came out were horrific.
“I would like to say how proud I am of the strength and courage shown by the victims who came forward.”
Tammy was working as a detective constable with the force’s investigations team at the time, specialising in sex offence cases.
But she left the police service at the end of last month to take up a new job working with victims.
She said cases like Babic’s were unusual, because of the sheer scale of the offending, and because rape convictions are often difficult to secure.
Babic, of James Brindley Court, Etruria, must serve at least 13 years before he can be considered for release.
He was convicted of 22 rapes, four attempted rapes, 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault.
Tammy’s award was one of more than a dozen handed out at a Staffordshire Police awards ceremony at Staffordshire county showground this week.
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham said: “Tammy completed the most meticulous investigation into the most distressing levels of abuse.
“She has provided tremendous support for each victim.”