05/12/2006

Community police officer remains critically ill

A police community support officer remains in a critical condition in a Greater Manchester hospital after being stabbed in the neck.

Greater Manchester Police said that Gary Etchells, 47, had twice undergone surgery at Tameside General Hospital and was now back in intensive care.

Mr Etchells, from Glossop in Derbyshire, was stabbed as he helped a housing organisation carry out an eviction at a house in Elizabeth Avenue in Stalybridge, Tameside.

A 63-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the stabbing and is being questioned by police.

Mr Etchells wife Andie described him as a "caring, generous and genuine man". She said that he had become a PCSO in one of the first intakes three or four years ago. Mrs Etchells said that he had been running a theatre before that and had wanted to do something more worthwhile."

Greater Manchester Police said that Mr Etchells had been due to meet bailiffs from the New Charter Housing Association and police officers who were supervising the eviction.

He arrived before the other police officers.

A GMP spokesperson said: "A conversation then took place between those present from the Housing Association and the police community support officer and a man.

"A short time later a man came out of the house and attacked those present. He lunged with a knife and cut the police community support officer on the neck."

Mr Etchells was not wearing a stab-proof vest or body armour at the time of the attack.

(KMcA)

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