9:30am Wednesday 26th June 2013
By Damian Fantato
POLICE officers being honoured for their bravery and saving lives is not uncommon.
Adam Koch’s parents Gill and David, though, had two reasons to be proud of their son last week because as he picked up a commendation for rescuing a child from a gas-filled flat, he was still carrying the wounds from being stabbed while protecting worshippers in a mosque just days earlier.
Pc Koch, who grew up in Wantage and went to King Alfred’s School, was last night bashful about being proclaimed a hero. But his mother, who still lives in the town, said he deserved all the praise he had received.
Last year Pc Koch and three colleagues from West Midlands Police were called to a flat in Shard End, Birmingham, where a man was holding a child hostage and had started a gas leak.
The man had a large carving knife but officers rescued the child, who had suffered a major chest wound.
All four were given a Chief Constable’s commendation but on June 15, days before he was due to receive the honour, he was called to respond to reports that worshippers at the Madrassa Qasim Ul Uloom mosque had been attacked by a man with a knife.
A Taser failed to control the manand Pc Koch was stabbed in the stomach and slashed across the back as he wrestled his assailant to the ground and disarmed him.
He believes that without the help of members of the congregation who rushed to his aid he might not have survived.
Last Thursday Pc Koch, recovering from surgery, received his award.
Mrs Koch said: “We are all very proud of him. All of his superiors have said he was extremely heroic.
“When he was given the award the whole audience stood up and clapped. It is quite an amazing thing to see happen to your son.
“He doesn’t push himself forward in any way. At the moment it doesn’t seem really that it is him.”
Insp John Stolz, who nominated the four for the commendation for saving the child, said: “Without their brave intervention, I have no doubt that the child would have died.”
Pc Koch – whose brother Gareth disappeared during a trip to Nepal in 2004 – said: “The word hero has been thrown about a bit but it is hard for me to say because I don’t remember most of the incident.
“I don’t feel comfortable using that word myself but it is nice to be recognised for the work which we do.
“To be honest, it is very surreal. It has not really sunk in yet and it feels like it has happened to somebody else.”
Pc Koch was born in West Germany because his father was in the Royal Air Force but moved to Wantage in 1983 when he was 18 months old.
He lived in the town until 1999 when he left King Alfred’s to attend the University of Leicester.
The 31-year-old joined West Midlands Police in 2007 after working at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham.
He will be off duty for eight weeks.
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