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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 00:40 GMT
Award for sword attack PC
Police Constable Thomas Tracey
PC Thomas Tracey helped subdue a man with a sword
A police officer who helped overpower a man attacking churchgoers with a sword, will be honoured with a top bravery award on Tuesday.

PC Thomas Tracey, who is based in Croydon, will receive the Commissioner's High Commendation, the Metropolitan Police's top award.

He was at St Andrew's Catholic Church in Thornton Heath, south London, in November 1999 when 27-year-old Eden Strang burst in naked, wielding a sword and kitchen knife.

Mr Tracey, who was off-duty and in the church choir, pulled a piece of pipe from the church organ and used it to help subdue and hold Strang.

Serious injuries

During the attack, 11 members of the congregation, including an elderly nun, were seriously injured.

Eden later said he believed they were demons. He was detained indefinitely at a psychiatric hospital under the mental health act.

PC Tracey will be presented with the award by force commissioner Sir John Stevens in a ceremony at New Scotland Yard on Tuesday.

Ten other officers will also receive the Commissioner's High Commendation, eight of them for their role in arresting a man who went on a shooting and car-jacking spree in April 1999.

George Stephen Knights randomly hijacked passing cars and fired at police and members of the public.

When he got to his home he threw a grenade at officers before armed police stormed the house and arrested him. He was given nine life sentences.

A total of 13 armed officers from the SO19 Firearms Unit involved in arresting him will also receive commendations for their role.


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