Charles honours PSNI officer stabbed disarming knifeman
A PSNI officer stabbed in the head while responding to a 999 call has received the Queen's Gallantry Medal.
The honour was bestowed on Sergeant Mark Wright (50) by the Prince of Wales at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace yesterday.
Prince Charles described the actions of the Banbridge-based policeman who sustained serious injuries while responding to a domestic disturbance in Lurgan as "unbelievable".
Other officers at the scene came under attack from petrol bombs and bricks in February 2012.
Sergeant Wright said he was "extremely humbled and honoured" to receive the decoration.
"Our job as police officers is to protect lives and to keep people safe and on that night in question I was only doing my job protecting the individuals within the house," he explained.
"I accepted this award on behalf of all my colleagues within the Police Service of Northern Ireland, as this was a team effort."
Sergeant Wright was attacked as he tried to force his way into a house in the Kilwilkie estate after a "dangerously out of control" knife-wielding man locked himself inside along with a woman and two young children.
He and his colleagues were responding to reports that a number of women had been assaulted in the property.
But a wrestling match ensued when the knifeman emerged from the property with two blades and attacked Sergeant Wright while attempting to stab a colleague in the throat.
Despite suffering numerous puncture wounds in the horrific incident, he refused to back down.
He managed to neutralise and handcuff the attacker and prevent further injury to others. Shortly after the incident Sergeant Wright described the extent of his injuries, which almost cost him his sight in one eye. "The cut to the back of the head cut right through the tissue, right down to my skull. There were puncture wounds to my face and forehead, narrowly missing my eye," he said.
Following the ceremony in London yesterday, where Sergeant Wright was accompanied by his parents and brother, he said: "He (Charles) said he found it unbelievable how you could do some of those things. And that we were very lucky to have people like me there to keep us safe."
But the modest sergeant said he accepted the award on behalf of his colleagues, who face similar dangers every day.