Fearless granny recognised for bravery

Kathleen Cochrane is not your average 87-year-old grandmother.

Yes, she likes her cup of tea, her hour of telly and adores her grandchildren.

But without a trace of fear, the NSW north coast war widow intervened in a bashing attack on her neighbour and stopped the blows.

Six years ago, the then 81-year-old was settling in for a quiet night at the Legacy units block in Coffs Harbour where she had lived for 17 years.

Upon turning down the TV, she heard a scream and was instantly on her feet.

"They were shouting `Help, help!' I thought it might have been a poor lady who was being raped in the laneway, and I thought I'd go down and scare the person away, telling them that I'd called the police," she said.

She shuffled downstairs, barefoot and dressed only in her pyjamas, and headed to the source of the yelling.

The door was open when she stepped over the threshold to receive the shock of her life.

"I saw her on the kitchen floor, Terri on top of her slamming her head against the ground. Elsie was bloody, getting all bruised and battered."

Ms Cochrane said she didn't even think, and headed straight to the attacker, who was also her neighbour, and tried to pull her off her elderly friend.

"I said `Terri what are you doing? Get off her' while she was hitting Elsie, banging her against the floor and she was saying `I'll kill her, she doesn't deserve to live'."

Ms Cochrane then doubled her efforts to stop the attack, pleading with the younger woman, another tenant in the Legacy units who unbeknown to the other residents was suffering a bipolar spell.

She successfully negotiated with the woman to stop the bashing.

"I couldn't have left to go and call the police because if I didn't stop her there, she would have killed her."

Ms Cochrane's actions have been rewarded with a Commendation for Brave Conduct in the annual Bravery Awards.

And there might be something of the fearless nature in the Cochrane blood.

Just last month her great-granddaughter signed up to the police force.

Morning news break – August 18

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