Northern Ireland

Police officer tells of knife attack during routine call out

Mark Wright
Image caption Seargent Mark Wright has spoken to the BBC about his ordeal.

A police officer has described how he was attacked and stabbed after responding to a call in County Armagh.

Sgt Mark Wright and his colleagues were called to an incident at a house in Lurgan.

When they got to the scene Sgt Wright was attacked by man armed with a knife and sustained stab wounds to his head.

The officer has been speaking about the assault after the 42-year-old man who carried it out was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In his first broadcast interview, Sgt Wright told BBC News NI what happened on that evening in 2012.

"I was on duty with my police officers in the Lurgan area in the early hours of the morning," he said.

"There were a number of calls about a serious domestic incident saying women were hysterical and a man in the house had become out of control through drink and drugs.

"We duly responded and when we arrived we found some women outside the property. They were very distressed and it was clear some of them had been injured."

Large carving knife

Sgt Wright said he went to the back of the house and looked through the patio doors. He said furniture was upturned and there was blood on the floor.

"It became apparent that there were two children in the house - a one-year-old and a three-year-old," he said.

"It was decided we had to do something very quickly to protect those children and subdue and arrest the man in the house."

Sgt Wright said he went back to the front door and was preparing to force his way in when the man opened the door and came out.

"When he came out I realised he was armed. He had a large carving knife which had a six to eight inch blade," he said.

"He tried to stab me through the right ear. I took immediate evasive action, which was to get inside the arc of the knife, and in doing so sustained a slash wound to the back of the head."

Despite having sustained a deep slash wound to the back of the head Sgt Wright still managed to grab hold of one of the man's arms while his colleague grabbed the other.

Losing blood

"Unfortunately my colleague slipped and fell backwards. I lost control of him and at that stage he got another knife which he had in his right hand," he said.

"I tried to restrain him again but I sustained a puncture wound to my face and a slash wound to my forehead adjacent to my right eye.

Image caption Sgt Wright also sustained a knife wound to the back of his head.

"The man then tried to stab my colleague in the throat but I managed to drag him off and restrain him for a second until other officers disarmed him."

Sgt Wright said that despite being injured and knowing his life was at risk, his focus was on disarming the man.

"As it unfolded I became aware I was losing an awful lot of blood and it actually became hard to see because there was so much blood," he said.

"I received first aid and was removed from the scene, but I am pleased to say that the children were uninjured.

"They were a one and a three-year-old. They are effectively babies and it was totally the wrong place for them to be but they were unharmed.

"I believe those children's lives were in danger. There was a risk to their lives if we did not arrive promptly and deal with the situation."

Attack reminder

Following the incident Sgt Wright was off work for six months, but he said the big impact was on his family.

"They are worried about you and get very distressed when they see the pictures," he said.

"It was worrying for them when the police initially called to say I had been injured and was in hospital.

"It takes some time to adjust afterwards but I tried to work as soon as possible.

"This is a situation that could face a police officer any day or night of the week and I'm lucky I was not on my own.

"It could happen to anyone."

The 42-year-old man was sentenced to seven years in prison at Craigavon Crown Court.

During the sentencing, the judge commended police for using minimum force and said the level of force used was "meritorious" and proportionate.

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