‘She left you with a smile’

‘She left you with a smile’

Police colleagues came together to celebrate the life of Constable Catherine Brenton.

Catherine, who emigrated to New Zealand from the UK, died at North Shore Hospice on 6 October after being diagnosed with cancer in February last year.

She was well known through her regular appearances on the reality TV show Motorway Patrol – appearances that all “leave you with a smile”.

The Eagle helicopter did two fly-bys as Catherine’s coffin was carried out of the chapel at Forest Funeral Home, Browns Bay, North Shore, after her funeral on Friday 12 October, past a Police guard of honour accompanied by a lone piper.

“Her patience and the way she connected to all was her strength, a thing she excelled at,” says her former colleague Senior Sergeant Billy Lawrence.

“Her psychometric testing to join New Zealand Police identified her as having strong problem-solving abilities.”

Catherine was a member of West Mercia Police from 1992, first as a Communications officer, then a caseworker in a criminal justice unit, then from 2001 as a frontline constabulary officer.

She moved to New Zealand with husband Simon and sons James and Simon and started a conversion course at Police College in 2009.

She worked most of her career on the motorways because she enjoyed the variety and because it allowed her to nurture and mentor new constables rotating through the workgroup.

Catherine is remembered fondly by the Motorway Patrol production team.

"She was always so lovely and welcoming with everyone she dealt with, while also being endlessly professional and firm when required,” says Kylie Croft, Head of Production: Operations, Greenstone TV.

“In series 16 she had stories in 10 of the 20 episodes. And all the stories leave you with a smile. She will be very sadly missed.”

Catherine is remembered by friends and colleagues as incredibly positive and with a passion to help people. “She was a beautiful person,” says Billy.

Many friends took time to reflect on her life. She was very observant and tenacious, said Constable Andrew Francis, remembering an occasion on which Catherine’s instinct told her all was not well with a man and a girl in a vehicle.

The girl was 14 years old, and had been reported missing by her grandmother. The man was in his late 20s and flagged as a predator who groomed young females through Facebook accounts, where he claimed to be 19 years old.

Though there was not enough evidence for charges, Catherine contacted ‘friends’ on his account who appeared at risk, gathered information for intel and was able to help the girl and her family on a personal level.

“At this time it is quite unimaginable how we are going to continue on as we did without her,” said Andrew. “She leaves quite a void to fill.”

With thanks to Greenstone TV for the photo.