'It was a job that, as a police officer, you pray you never have to go to'

Thomas McComish
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)

A police officer felt the blow as a knife hit his torso twice while grappling with a drunken thug.

Three plain-clothed Merseyside Police officers were approached by two members of the public, Lola Green and Shaun Brennan, on December 5, 2022. Green and Brennan claimed that a man had threatened to stab them while they were stood at a bus stop on Parr Street, St Helens.

Thomas McComish, 34, of Morgan Street, was located on Parr Mount Street - at which point he brandished a large carving knife. PC Ian Hide shouted for him to drop the weapon, but he responded by throwing the bottle towards him.

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McComish launched himself at PC Hide, who broke his wrist as he tried to fight the thug off. PC Rimmer and PC Beavin came to his aid, but as they tried to restrain the assailant, PC Rimmer "felt the force" of the knife hit the left side of his torso.

His handcuffs were there to protect him and he managed to punch the attacker in the face. The officers were then able to grapple with McComish and confiscate the knife from him. Speaking about the attack, PC Hide told a court last year how he was affected in the months that followed.

PCs Ian Hide and Nathan Beavin
PCs Ian Hide and Nathan Beavin -Credit:Police Federation

PC Hide suffered a broken left wrist during the incident, with the ex-army engineer left on desk duties and unable to play with his young child or perform simple tasks such as turning door handles or opening jars. A statement read out to the court on his behalf during the sentencing hearing held last year said: "I don't feel like the confident, robust individual I was prior to the events of that night.

"It was a job that, as a police officer, you pray you never have to go to. It will stay with me for the rest of my life. I can't believe I survived. There remains a large piece of me missing."

PC Rimmer meanwhile was left unable to work for three weeks and suffering from insomnia and flashbacks. His statement added: "I became a shadow of myself."

Now, the three officers involved in the traumatic attack have been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards 2024. PC Hide said: “It was a job that, as a police officer, you pray you never have to go to. It will stay with me for the rest of my life. I can't believe I survived. There remains a large piece of me missing.”

McComish - who also served in the forces for five years before leaving on medical grounds - was taken to Aintree Hospital having sustained a broken nose and a fractured eye socket, which will leave his eyesight permanently damaged. He continued to behave "aggressively" towards paramedics in the ambulance, then told hospital staff: "If you do that to me you will lose some teeth."

McComish admitted two counts of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm during an earlier hearing. Appearing via video link to HMP Altcourse wearing a grey Nike jumper and glasses on March 31, 2023, he was jailed for seven years and nine months and handed an additional four years on licence.

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “I am immensely proud that the brave and selfless actions of PCs Hide, Rimmer, and Beavin, have been recognised in this way. Their actions directly led to the detention of an armed man intent on hurting the public and officers, and I have no doubt they spared people more serious injury that day.

“I never take for granted the courage of officers who go to work every day knowing they could be confronted with incredibly dangerous situations such as this but do so willingly and because they care passionately about protecting the public. These three officers are a credit to their profession, and I wish them well at the Police Bravery Awards.”

Merseyside Police Federation Chair Chris McGlade said: “These officers demonstrated great bravery in putting the safety of the public before their own. Their actions brought an extremely dangerous situation to a safe conclusion and prevented any further members of the public being harmed. They should rightly be extremely proud of their actions on this day, and it is right the courage they displayed is being formally recognised.”