Police officers who fought off knife attacker: 'We wanted to stay alive'

Sharon Marris, news reporter

Four brave police officers have told how they fought off a knife attacker after being lured to a house following a bogus emergency call.

The officers spoke after Alex Traykov, 20, was jailed for 15 years on three charges of grievous bodily harm with intent and one of attempted grievous bodily harm.

Late on 6 October last year, Traykov had phoned police to report a fight at a house in Islington, London, but when officers arrived it was clear there was no fighting.

Traykov, of Redhill, came to the door and began attacking the officers - two men and two women - with a 23cm knife.

One of the officers, PC Launa Watkins, said: "I have never been subjected to such a violent and determined attack in the entirety of my 16 years of service, and I hope that no other officer ever has to endure such gratuitous violence.

"Luckily that night myself and my colleagues were determined to never give up and to stay alive and fight, despite us all suffering injuries at the hands of this individual."

The court was told that PC Istarlin Said-Ali, 31, had spotted Traykov's knife first and raised her hand to protect herself. But he stabbed her in the back of her head and her hand.

She fell down the steps and Traykov turned on the other three officers.

PC Ben Thomson, 40, saw Traykov raise the knife above his head and bring it down in a series of stabbing motions before swinging the knife at PC Rafal Kedziora, striking him in the face.

PC Kedziora, 34, felt a number of blows to the back of his head and at one point Traykov was standing over him with the knife.

When Traykov saw PC Watkins ready with her Taser, he threw the knife at her.

PC Watkins, 39, tasered Traykov twice and the four officers were able to restrain him.

All four officers needed hospital treatment, with injuries including cuts needing stitches, significant bleeding and a fracture.

Traykov, a university drop-out, earlier told the court that he had been so "high" on cannabis that he was not thinking properly.

He accepted injuring the officers but denied intending any serious harm.

PC Said-Ali said the months since the attack had been a "rollercoaster of emotions".

She added: "I joined this job knowing the risks that come with it, however, I never thought I would ever come close to death like I did on that night and no level of training could have prepared us for what we had to endure."

PC Kedziora said he had accepted that his job required "facing ruthless criminals on a daily basis who have zero regard for the value of life".

"I and my colleagues came to work that evening to protect and serve the community, I have been left with life-changing injuries that my family and I are continuing to come to terms with, and the mental scars may never heal."

PC Thomson said: "We all suffered injury as a result, but fortunately we were able to fight back and ultimately we survived, and our physical injuries have or will heal over time."

Detective Constable Ed Sehmer, of the Central North Command Unit, said the attack had been "traumatic and terrifying".

"If my colleagues had not reacted so quickly to protect each other, the result of that night could have been deadly."