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Pregnant policewoman ‘kicked and punched by gang’ after officer husband stabbed

Written by on 1 October 2020

A police constable has told how she was kicked and punched while nearly 20 weeks pregnant as she fought off a violent gang with her husband – a fellow officer – who had been stabbed twice.

PCs Joanna and Jack Wilber have been nominated for a national police bravery award after being subjected to a “sustained attack” by a “pack of youths” as they tried to protect a member of the public while off duty.

The couple – who work in Oldham with Greater Manchester Police – were said to have suffered “horrific injuries” after confronting about nine people who had surrounded a woman screaming for help as she sat in a car.

The married couple have been nominated for a national police bravery award. Pic: Greater Manchester Police Federation

Speaking for the first time about the incident, Mrs Wilber told Sky News she felt “sick” as she saw her husband being attacked by members of the gang and she desperately tried to stop the assault.

“It was horrendous. I can’t tell you how scared I was,” she said.

“I stood in front of Jack and I was pleading with them because you could see I was heavily pregnant.

“I was saying to them: ‘Go away, I’m pregnant. Just leave us alone.’

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“I was hoping they would just run off but they didn’t, they just continued to attack us.

“They kicked and punched me. I was kicked that hard I had an imprint of a trainer on my thigh.

“I was near enough begging for them to leave us alone.

“I went to the hospital that evening. I wasn’t sure if I had been kicked in the stomach.

“It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever been through. We wanted this baby so much.”

Joanna and Jack Wilber said they feared for their unborn child after the attack
The Wilbers said they feared for their unborn child after the attack

Mr Wilber told Sky News he was stabbed in his back and his arm during the attack in September last year, with the weapon thought to have been a screwdriver or a knife.

He said: “You don’t really feel it, with the amount of adrenalin. It wasn’t until I had a shower the next day that I could feel it.

“They’d broken my ribs and I’d chipped my teeth as well. I was in a lot of pain and had a lot of swelling where I’d been punched.

“I’d been stabbed but I managed to chase them off.”

Mr Wilber, 28, said he felt “terrible” as his wife, 35, went to hospital for doctors to check on the condition of their unborn child.

“I had to stay with the police to go through everything that happened,” he said.

“It was horrible waiting to find out about the baby. Luckily she was alright. I was chuffed.

“After all that, it was the best possible news.”

Hundreds of violent attacks on ambulance workers during COVID-19 crisis

Hundreds of violent attacks on ambulance workers during COVID-19 crisis

The Greater Manchester Police Federation said the officers had been nominated for a bravery award after suffering “horrific injuries in the process of protecting a member of the public” following a “sustained attack by a pack of youths”.

All the suspects were arrested and the police investigation into the incident is ongoing, it added.

The federation’s chairman Stu Berry said the incident “really proves that GMP officers are never off duty”.

“Jack and Joanna realised that this woman was clearly in trouble and in the best traditions of policing ran towards the danger to protect her,” he said.

“What a brave thing to do – they were up against an armed gang but protected this woman and did everything they could to get their assailants to justice.

“It’s even more remarkable considering Joanna was pregnant at the time.”

“We are all very proud of them both,” he added.

Mr and Mrs Wilber, who married in November 2017 after meeting through work, welcomed their baby daughter in February this year.

The National Police Bravery Awards take place in London in July.