Injured PC's life was 'in the lap of the gods'

Injured police officer John Tisshaw yesterday spoke of the moment when a peaceful demonstration turned into a frenzied attack.

Constable Tisshaw, 39, who lives in Kent and is based at Croydon Traffic, was on motorcycle traffic patrol duty in Brixton when the riot erupted on Wednesday night.

"At first they were doing what demonstrators do, which is move about a little bit. It was no different from any other demonstration," he said from his bed in St Thomas's Hospital, London.

"We started hearing on the radio that they had set fire to the 7-Eleven store and that looters had gone by ... the crowd moved down Brixton Road. We were just leaving and 20 or 30 of them just appeared from I don't know where.

"They attacked from behind and from beside. They dragged me off the bike and I ended up in a ball on the floor.

"I got kicked - fortunately I had a crash helmet on because I felt two or three kicks to the head and I got kicks on the back. Someone took my baton off me and used that on me, I am led to believe.

"In that situation seconds feel like hours, to be honest. My colleagues came to my help and one got a kick in the groin. I saw people coming back to my help - they were half a dozen members of the public - to help me out, black and white, although I don't want to make a point of it," he said.

He remembered being dragged out of the melee but did not recall much more until he was being tended by a police medic.

He said he had been told of reports that a motorist drove at the crowd, forcing it to disperse and almost single-handedly preventing a potential murder. "If I meet him I would be very thankful for what he did."

PC Tisshaw also praised the Territorial Support Group for pulling police vans up on each side. He said: "While one of their medics was looking after me, there were four of them whose job was just to fend off the bricks. How do you say thank you for that?"

Asked whether he feared for his life, PC Tisshaw, who suffered a broken shoulder, fractured ribs and bruising in the attack, said: "They did serious harm to me. But whether they would have killed me, I don't know. You are in the lap of the gods at that stage of a beating."

PC Tisshaw, who has been in the Metropolitan Police for 20 years, and was in Brixton on the night of the last riots 10 years ago, said he expected to return to duty when he had recovered.

His wife of 19 years, Lynda, visited him after the attack and was expected to be at his bedside again today.

Asked what he felt about his attackers, he said: "I don't know at this stage if I feel outrageously angry towards them. They are just faceless.

"It is just something that has happened, and they will or they will not get brought to justice."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Travel
Streets ahead: Venice
travelWhat's trending on your wishlist?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect