A British detective sergeant has been nominated for a bravery award for saving the life of an Israeli man in Jerusalem, Jewish News reported Wednesday.
The off-duty policeman was nearly killed and sustained serious injuries to his head, after intervening in a brutal assault against a Jerusalem resident by three Arab men. The incident took place near the Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion, where Richard Burgess was visiting the grave of Oskar Schindler, who saved hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust.
Together with friends from the police, Burgess was making his first visit to Israel in February 2016 on a pilgrimage tour arranged by his local church.
The detective sergeant, 45, told Jewish News, “I saw three Arab-looking males assaulting a Jewish man wearing a kippah. I saw him being dragged and assaulted, and some sort of noxious substance appeared to have been sprayed at his face, because his eyes were streaming.”
The policeman ran towards them “without a thought.” He added, “It wasn’t a good year for me, 2016. We went to Israel two days after my mother’s death and I had had a bad motorcycle accident which affected the use of my right arm.”
Mr Burgess eventually fought off the three assailants, two of whom were later convicted for assault. The British policeman is based in Essex and has been with the police for 25 years. He previously served in the intelligence community.
His colleagues have nominated him for a Police Federation Bravery Award, which is due to be presented Thursday evening. It is awarded to officers who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off-duty.