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IT worker tackles escaping martial arts expert after policeman's jaw fractured

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 April 2012 | UPDATED: 18:28 04 April 2012

Ben Willis (left) receives his commendation

Ben Willis (left) receives his commendation

Archant

An IT worker has been commended for his bravery in tackling a martial arts expert who had fractured a police officer's jaw.

Ben Willis, who was cycling home with his girlfriend after shopping in Camden, headed off the attacker, dumped his bike and then strolled casually towards him before grappling him to the ground in a green space off Castlehaven Road.

The attacker had been found with a knife when he was stopped and searched by police in Camden Lock minutes earlier.

Mr Willis, 28, said: “I heard someone shouting and saw the police were in a bit of trouble and just thought I can do something to stop this.

“I decided to cycle around to try to get in front of him. I dumped my bike and shouted to my girlfriend to make sure no-one stole it and – keeping a low profile as if I was not interested – pushed him backwards.

“I had to dodge a couple of punches and then he came at me and I just grabbed him around the arms and drove him backwards down towards the ground until the police arrived.”

Officers caught up with the attacker and, after a short struggle, arrested the manThe incident happened in August last year in the aftermath of the London riots.

Constable Martin East, who was also commended for his service, was punched in the face repeatedly by the man as he tried to flee.

He suffered a fractured jaw, which took three weeks to heal.

“It was really painful, my face was swollen and bleeding,” said Pc East.

“If Ben had not intervened we would have been so tired after the run he almost certainly would have got away,” he added.

Mr Willis, who lives in Epping in Essex, said: “I get quite fed up with society standing away from everything. There are a lot of men out there who could really do a lot more to help and, if they did, then people would think twice about committing a crime if everyone was out protecting each other.”

Other officers were also recognised for their bravery during the summer’s disorder at a ceremony that was held at the Town Hall on Friday.

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