Police honour heroism;News;News and Opinion

19th November 1999 at 00:00
A head has been commended for disarming a knife-wielding parent. Nicholas Pyke reports.

A HEADTEACHER who disarmed a knife-wielding parent has been given a police bravery award two years after the event.

Frederick Greatorix this week told how he tackled an estranged father who demanded to see his children. When he couldn't find them he brought out a kitchen knife.

The man slashed his own wrists in front of the parents and pupils at Whaley Thorn primary school near Mansfield, Derbyshire, before the head and a parent, Alan Evans, tackled him. Both men received an official commendation for bravery from Derbyshire police.

The school had been powerless to stop the intruder, who came through the main door alongside other parents at going home time. "He stormed into his son's classroom," said Mr Greatorix.

"When he came back into the corridor, he drew a knife. I tried to keep him calm and away from the children and I managed to shepherd him into a safe area of the school."

The 53-year-old head struggled with the man and removed the knife as his two children sheltered in the school office. The intruder, who cannot be named, was later arrested and detained under the Mental Health Act.

Chair of governors George Warrener said that Mr Greatorix was covered with so much blood that the pupils were surprised to see him the next day.

Mr Greatorix said: "I'm used to dealing with angry parents who don't always have the communications skills you might wish. But usually there are no weapons."

Only a handful of such awards are given out every year. The certicate says:

"Both men acted with great courage in confronting a disturbed man who was armed with a knife."

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