Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Pc tells of grapple with attacker

The Washwood Heath Muslim Centre in Birmingham where three men and a police officer were stabbed
The Washwood Heath Muslim Centre in Birmingham where three men and a police officer were stabbed

A police officer has described wrestling a knife-wielding attacker to the ground moments after he had stabbed worshippers at a mosque.

Pc Adam Koch, of West Midlands Police, suffered knife wounds to his back and side as he grappled with the man in a Birmingham mosque.

A 32-year-old local man, believed to be of Somali descent, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following the attack late on Saturday. He remains in a secure mental health unit under assessment until deemed fit to be questioned, West Midlands Police said.

Pc Koch was one of the officers called to Madrassa Qasim Ul Uloom mosque in Washwood Heath Road at 11pm on Saturday after three worshippers were stabbed. On arriving they found the suspect in a side room and used a Taser on him, but it had no effect and the attacker then lunged at Pc Koch "with a commando-style knife".

Speaking from his hospital bed on Monday, the 31-year-old police constable said: "He charged towards me with the knife. I can remember falling to the floor and wrestling with the man and he tried thrusting the knife into my back.

"I'm waiting to see the damage to my stab vest as I'm convinced it's helped save my life. I managed to grab hold of his wrist and eventually disarm him; it was only then that my partner told me I'd been stabbed and blood was running from my shirt.

"I didn't feel anything at the time: the adrenaline took over and my focus was purely on stopping this man causing any more damage. Thankfully my injuries weren't as bad as they could have been and I hope to be back on the streets within a few weeks."

He also praised worshippers at the mosque who helped pin the attacker down during the incident. Pc Koch, who has been an officer for six years, said: "I owe those people a massive debt of thanks and if it wasn't for their help, bravely running towards a man they'd already seen brandishing a large knife, I may not be here today.

"As soon as I'm back on my feet I intend to visit the mosque and ask the imam to pass on my gratitude to the worshippers who put their own safety in jeopardy to assist me. In the end it was a great community effort to overpower the man and arrest him."

A 28-year-old man, who suffered multiple stab wounds, and a 36-year-old man, who suffered a single stab wound to the thigh, both remain in stable condition in hospital. A third man who suffered a hand injury is recovering at home.

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