License article

Last act of a dying hero

In his final moments, Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson made one last heroic gesture.

Stabbed in the neck after a neighbourhood dispute had escalated ''beyond all reason'', the experienced officer cared little for his injuries, soon to prove fatal. Instead, he went to help a fellow officer also under attack.

This last, courageous deed was revealed by the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, on Wednesday, as more than 2000 people bid farewell to the father-of-three.

The 45-year-old's widow, Donna Anderson, his children Olivia, Darcy and Cain, his two brothers and parents stood shoulder-to-shoulder with members of the ''police family'', the Governor, Marie Bashir, and the Premier, Barry O'Farrell.

More than 1000 serving officers packed St Patrick's Cathedral at Parramatta and the adjacent park, turning the grounds of the historic building into a sea of blue.

During the emotional service, Mr Scipione posthumously bestowed upon Inspector Anderson the NSW force's highest honour, the Valour Award for exceptional bravery.


Mr Scipione presented Inspector Anderson's family with the medal for his ''conspicuous action and exceptional courage he displayed at the incident in Oakville'' where he lost his life. ''After being attacked with a knife and sustaining wounds that would prove fatal, Detective Inspector Anderson went to the aid of a fellow injured officer without hesitation,'' Mr Scipione said.

''By his conspicuous actions and exceptional courage in a dangerous situation, Detective Inspector Anderson evinced the highest standards of the NSW Police Force and is so conferred with the Commissioner's Valour Award.''

Inspector Anderson was also awarded the National Police Service Medal, in recognition of his ''ethical and diligent service in protecting the community''.

His grieving children were at times inconsolable, especially as their father's coffin was carried in by six of his colleagues.

In her eulogy, Mrs Anderson said her husband loved being a cop and everything it stood for.

In particular, she said, he felt it was about ''having your mate's back''.

''His proudest moment was when he became a detective in 1993,'' she said.

Noting the date - 12/12/12 - she said losing Bryson would be the hardest thing she and her family would ever have to do.

''They say there will never be another day like this for a thousand years and I pray for the sake of my family and the police community that they're right,'' she said.

His brothers, Damien and retired policeman Warwick, said that while their younger brother - ''or as dad used to say, my number three son'' - loved his chosen profession, the true love of his life was his family.

In the homily, delivered by the Most Reverend Anthony Fisher, the circumstances of the death were noted.

''We all shelter behind our police officers, their character and courage … Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson devoted his life to providing such shelter for his friends and community,'' Bishop Fisher said. ''He died for this and this affronts us all … his family must now be asking the question, 'how could an argument over a birdcage end so horribly?'''

Even a village in Vanuatu, where Inspector Anderson and his family would holiday and donate sporting equipment to, had held a service in his honour.

''On the one hand, a tenacious and committed police officer, driven to pursue offenders for the darkest and most serious of crimes,'' Mr Scipione said.

''Yet retaining the most extraordinary empathy, compassion and concern for the victims of those crimes.''

Mr Scipione said he was ''deeply honoured and privileged'' to represent the force in farewelling ''a man who served his community with courage, honour, and distinction''.

''Our prayers are with you Bryson. May you rest in peace.''

More than $100,000 has been donated to the memorial fund for Detective Inspector Anderson's family, thanks to a $50,000 gift from the businessman Dick Smith.

Donations can be made to the Bryson Anderson Memorial Fund, details of which are at www.pansw.org.au.