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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 11:51 GMT
Wife's fears over stabbed officer
Gary Etchells
Mr Etchells' wife, Andie, said his condition was improving
The wife of a police community support officer (PCSO) who was stabbed in the neck in Greater Manchester has revealed she thought he was going to die.

Gary Etchells, of Glossop, Derbyshire, had been helping a housing organisation serve an eviction notice in Stalybridge when he was stabbed in the neck.

He underwent two operations on Monday night and is in intensive care.

Police said the 47-year-old began to breathe on his own at Tameside General Hospital on Tuesday.

Mr Etchells, who has four sons aged between nine and 19, was attempting to serve the notice on a property at Elizabeth Avenue, when the attack took place.

On Tuesday, his wife Andie described him as a "caring, generous and genuine man".

"I was worried I was going to lose him yesterday but thank God he is improving today," she said.

The scene of the stabbing
The 47 year old was helping to serve an eviction notice

Mrs Etchells said her husband had become a PCSO in one of the first intakes a few years ago.

"He had been running a theatre before that and decided to become a PCSO because he wanted to so something more worthwhile," she said.

"He thought if he didn't do it at this stage of his life, he never would. I know he is really good at his job and loves it."

Mrs Etchells also thanked the police and her husband's colleagues and friends for their support at what she said was a difficult time.

Staff and bailiffs representing New Charter Housing Association had requested a police presence while they carried out the eviction on Monday morning.

No armour

Deputy Chief Constable Dave Whatton, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Police officers and the local police community support officer had arranged to attend while the eviction was being carried out.

"The police community support officer arrived before the police officers.

"A conversation then took place between those present from the housing association and the police community support officer and a man.

"A short time later the man came out of the house and attacked those present.

"He lunged with a knife and cut the police community support officer on the neck."

Greater Manchester Police are still questioning a 63-year-old man arrested on suspicion of wounding.

Mr Etchells, who is among some 7,000 PCSOs across the UK, was not wearing a stab-proof vest or body armour at the time of the attack.

A statement by Greater Manchester Police

Support officer stabbed in neck
04 Dec 06 |  Manchester
Support officers' stab vest fear
07 Aug 06 |  West Midlands

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