A young Londonderry man has described the dramatic moment he wrestled a knife from a man to prevent someone else being injured.
Simon Clarke (19) used his Mixed Martial Arts training skills and held the man in an arm lock as he got the knife away from him during an incident in the Foyle Road area of the city on Monday night.
Simon was standing outside a friend’s house in the area when the man ran past shouting and acting erratically.
The teenager said: “He seemed to be out of his head on drink or drugs. He was making these mad noises. We laughed and he must have heard us laughing.
“He came over and made us aware, me and my friends, that he had a knife. He showed us the knife in his hand. It was really big kitchen knife. It was a good four or five inches of a blade. He was acting wile suspicious.
“He asked for a cigarette and I gave him one. Once I seen him with the knife in his hand, I didn’t know if I said no about the cigarette if he might try and stab me.
“He told us what he planning to do with the knife.”
The man allegedly told the group he was going to see someone he had had an argument with and was planning to stab the person.
Simon said a knife tragedy which claimed the life of someone in his own family several years ago immediately came to mind, and he felt he had no option but to act.
“I was thinking, I won’t be able to live with that on my conscience,” he said.
The man with the knife, described as being in his late 20s/ early 30s, then asked for a lighter, and as he went to light the cigarette, Simon decided it was time to make his move.
“I stunned him with a punch and wrestled him to the ground,” Simon said.
“I grabbed him by the hood of his jacket. I tried to get the knife off him and had to use more force.
“I pulled the knife off him and got him into a arm lock.
“I threw the knife down a grating. He said ‘please don’t let the police get the knife’.”
By this stage the police were arriving at the scene after being contacted by another party and the man who had brandished the knife ran off towards Bishop Street.
Simon told police what had happened and took them to the grating, where he said police recovered the knife.
Simon said he then gave a statement to police at the police station about what had unfolded.
The teenager said that while the incident had left him “a bit shaken”, he was happy that he potentially prevented a major tragedy.
A PSNI spokesman said: “Police were informed by a male that he had removed a knife from another male in the area. A knife was handed over. Police enquiries are continuing.”