The husband and wife cops who tackled a pack of knife-wielding thugs - while she was pregnant

By John Scheerhout

Husband and wife cops who tackled a pack of knife-wielding thugs outside their home have won a bravery award.

PC Jack Wilber was stabbed twice with what was thought to be a screwdriver or a knife when he rushed to the aid of a woman who was being attacked by a gang of youths.

His wife, PC Joanna Wilber, who was pregnant at the time, suffered bruising as she tried to hold the gang off until back-up arrived.

The Oldham-based officers went to hospital but were discharged later.

READ MORE: Police issue CCTV images after boy assaulted on Metrolink tram

Jack suffered what were described as 'deep' stab wounds and a broken rib in the attack.

Both officers quickly returned to frontline duty and have now been handed a bravery award for their efforts.

The pair received the north west bravery gong at the National Police Bravery Awards in London last night (Tuesday), which included a reception at Downing Street.

They were off-duty at the time and 'subjected to a sustained attack' by 'a violent gang', according the Police Federation, which hosted the awards and represents rank-and-file cops.

The pair had responded to the cries of a distressed woman outside their property in September 2019, and could see she was being attacked.

PCs Jack and Joanna Wilber (GMP FED)

The federation said: "Despite being severely outnumbered, the officers immediately went to her aid only to be set upon by the gang.

"During the melee Jack was stabbed twice with what was either a screwdriver or a knife, receiving deep wounds and a broken rib.

"Jack still managed to grab hold of one of the assailants to prevent them making their escape but came under further attacks by the group, who were courageously held off by Joanna.

"Further units then arrived, and all the suspects were arrested.

"Jack and Joanna who suffered severe bruising both received hospital treatment but thankfully discharged a short time afterwards."

An investigation into the incident is said to be continuing.

Chairman of the Greater Manchester branch of the Police Federation, Stu Berry, said the officers had been 'put through hell' during the incident.

"This incident really proves that GMP officers are never off duty," he said.

"Jack and Joanna realised that this woman was clearly in trouble and in the best traditions of policing, ran towards the danger to protect her.

"What a brave thing to do. They were up against an armed gang but protected this woman and did everything they could to get their assailants to justice. It's even more remarkable considering Joanna was pregnant at the time.

"We are all very proud of them both."

PC Geoff Marshall lowers sandbags onto the stricken dam at Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge (Derbyshire Constabulary)

Another cop, PC Geoff Marshall, was also given a bravery award for risking his life to lay sandbags on Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge when its dam partially failed amid a deluge in August 2019.

Engineers told the Derbyshire Constabulary officer and other police colleagues they would just have seconds to flee if the dam collapsed completely.

PC Geoff Marshall (left) receives his bravery award for his efforts at Toddbrook Reservoir (Police Federation)

All the officers who were involved in the sand-bagging were handed commendations by the force but PC Marshall, the one who would have had furthest to run as he was the only cop in the water, was also given his own bravery award at last night's event.

PC Marshall had volunteered to work on the spillway, placing 300 sandbags into place which had been passed to him by colleagues for two hours.

Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: "Geoff’s actions that day were brave and selfless. He placed himself in great danger to protect the town of Whaley Bridge. I am delighted that his courage has been recognised.

"Every officer and member of staff involved in the operation did outstanding work in very challenging circumstances and I am proud of them all."


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