An Essex police officer has been nominated for a bravery award after stopping an attack on a Jewish man - while on holiday in Israel.
Detective Sergeant Richard Burgess was in Jerusalem last February when he ran to help protect the man from three Arab assailants.
News of his heroic actions have only just emerged.
Sergeant Burgess, who is currently training to become an Anglican priest, also serves as a part-time tour guide for Anglia Tours, with a focus on “faith based tours looking at moral and theological issues”.
He was part of a tour group which had just visited the grave of Oskar Schindler, which is in the Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion, when a woman approached him and begged him to “please help them”.
The police officer saw two children crying at the entrance to an alleyway. When he approached, he saw what he identified by his clothing as a Jewish man, being assaulted by three Arab men.
He ran at the attackers and managed to subdue one of them, giving the victim time to flee the scene. Two other UK police officers on the tour helped lead the man to safety.
However, Sergeant Burgess attacked by the two of the assailants, one of whom hit him over the head with a claw hammer, stunning him and causing him to collapse to the ground. When the man raised the hammer above his head, Sergeant Burgess, fearing a fatal blow, raised his arms high as he attempted to stand, which was enough to make his assailant pause, allowing the police officer to make his escape.
He managed to return to the coach, and was later informed by Israeli police that two men had been arrested and charged. Apart from some bruising to his head, he was unhurt.
Steve Taylor, chair of Essex Police Federation, said: “A police officer is never truly off-duty, and it is brave and courageous acts like that of Sergeant Burgess that prove that. He put himself in true danger, in a foreign country, because he could see someone in need. He is truly deserving of this nomination.”
The winners of the Police Bravery Awards will be announced later this year.