TWO brave police officers have been nominated for a national award for stopping a man brandishing a knife and threatening to “cause a massacre” at an airport.

PC Matthew Parnell and PC Sean Grainger tackled the knifeman at Gatwick.

They have been nominated by the Sussex Police Federation for The National Police Bravery Awards.

“Terrified” staff managed to clear the South Terminal and call the officers in June last year.

The Argus:

Police at Gatwick Airport

PC Parnell and Grainger, who are both trained with firearms, swooped in. The suspect had a kitchen knife in each hand.

The pair confronted the man but he continued towards them, brandishing the weapons.

PC Grainger aimed his Taser at him while PC Parnell pointed his rifle at him in a bid to defuse the situation.

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The man threw down the knives but continued to approach the officers. At that point they did not know whether he had any further weapons.

After warnings, they Tasered the man to bring the threat to the public under control. More officers then arrived to help make the arrest.

Sussex Police Federation Chairman Daren Egan said the courageous officers had demonstrated exemplary policing and saved lives – including that of the suspect himself.

The Argus:

The incident happened at Gatwick Airport - Stock image

“PC Parnell and PC Grainger were incredibly brave to run towards the danger and get this individual under arrest as quickly as possible,” he said.

“They could not have known the assailant’s intentions – especially given where the incident took place, being an international airport on a busy summer’s day.

“Police officers have to make split-second decisions which can be then looked over with the power of hindsight.

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“So the fact these officers managed to calmly and courageously control and contain the incident without any loss of life is an incredible achievement.

“I am certain the people of Sussex are very grateful to them. We’re certainly very proud of them both, and they are worthy nominees for this award.”

The Argus:

Image of Gatwick Airport

At Lewes Crown Court in September 2020, the suspect Adam Russell admitted possessing a weapon and affray. He was ordered to take part in mental health treatment.

The National Police Bravery Awards, now in their 25th year, honour officers from across England and Wales who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.

PC Grainger and PC Parnell will attend a daytime reception and evening awards ceremony in London next year.