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
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
Sport
Premier League Live Saturday 23 August
sportAll the action from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

JavaScript Developer (C++ / C# / HTML, Java Angular.js) London

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A world leading business intellig...

Application Support Analyst-(UNIX, Linux, Financial Services)

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst-(UNIX...

Application Support Analyst - SQL, UNIX, Linux

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst - SQL...

Application Support - FIX protocol, UNIX, SQL, Windows, OMS

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support - FIX protoco...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition