Cops risk own lives in fire to save violent knife-wielder
A woman had called the police to report being assaulted by her boyfriend at their flat. She said he had self-harmed with a knife and cut his own throat, before holding a knife against her throat saying, “we are going to die together”.
The man had locked himself in the bathroom with the knife and would not communicate with his partner, so she believed he was self-harming.
She was screaming and pleading with him to stop, when she noticed that he had set fire to something as smoke began creeping under the bathroom door. She managed to smash a hole in the door and could hear her boyfriend saying something, but then he was either ignoring her or had lost consciousness.
Police arrived including PC Murphy and Sgt Waters who had to force open the front door as the woman was still inside the flat with the door locked. Smoke was escaping from around the front door, so their first thought was to bring the woman to safety away from the building and then force open the bathroom door.
The officers did this knowing that the man in the bathroom had a knife so was unlikely to want to be rescued, but also knowing his previous offending history. The caller had stated that the man had “murdered someone before” and Sgt Waters knew he was violent and had a previous conviction for manslaughter.
Despite the dangers of the fire and the violent knife-wielding man, they forced entry to the bathroom to save him, as smoke billowed out. The officers attempted to put out the fire before searching the flat and then with other officers evacuated the whole block.
The fire officer’s report said that the fire could have spread and put other people in danger if it had not been tackled.