The heroic police officer recovering in hospital after being stabbed by a knifeman has said it was a day he would never forget while his wife – an NHS theatre nurse – also went through hell as she raced from her home in Irvine to Glasgow after the attack.
PC David Whyte, who is off the critical list, yesterday thanked his colleagues for helping to save his life.
The unarmed officer was first on the scene of the bloody carnage in Glasgow’s city centre on Friday and tackled the crazed attacker in the Park Inn hotel.
He said: “The scene we were confronted with is something I will never forget. As the first responders on scene, myself and my colleague did what all police officers are trained for – to save lives.
“Despite suffering serious injuries myself, I know that the swift actions of colleagues saved lives and prevented a far more serious incident.
“I would like to thank my colleagues who put themselves in harm’s way to contain this incident and assist with the vital treatment given to myself and others at the scene by other emergency services.”
The constable, described by his colleagues as “a rock”, tackled the knife-wielding attacker, stopping him from injuring others in the bloodbath.
Five others, including two hotel staff, were attacked by the asylum seeker before he was shot dead by firearms officers.
From his hospital bed, PC Whyte, 42, also paid tribute to the NHS and the public for their good wishes.
He added: “I would like to thank the medical staff at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for their outstanding care in the hours following this incident.
“Finally, I would like to thank the public for all their kind messages of support and for the good wishes from all at Police Scotland.”
We can reveal that his wife Carol, an NHS theatre nurse, raced to Glasgow from the couple’s home in Irvine after being told of the horror attack.
The mum of two posted a poignant image on social media of a blue police line with the words: “Because he’s mine, I hold this line.”
A friend said: “It was terrifying for Carol. It’s what the wife and family of any police officer fear the most.
“But now David is sitting up in hospital and talking and off the critical list, she is also incredibly proud of what he did that day.”
The couple, who have been married for a decade, have already faced a tough few months after key worker Carol was diagnosed with Covid-19 in April and later recovered. The pair have two daughters, Billie, 19, and Lea, 12.
David Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), which represents rank-and-file cops, said PC Whyte, who has been in
the job for 13 years, was a true hero.
He said: “It’s a huge relief to everyone that he is now out of critical condition. He is a rock – a very experienced Glasgow cop.
“PC Whyte has spent most of his career on the frontline in Glasgow doing this job and nobody who knows him is surprised by the bravery and heroism he showed.
“It’s at times like these when the public can get an insight into the job that these officers do, day in, day out.
“As a response cop, you never know what you’re going to be called out to next – it could be a fight in a pub, a road accident or a something like we witnessed yesterday.
“It is the absolute core of policing, we’ve all done it. It is the best part of policing and the worst part as well but it is the heart and soul of what it is to be a police officer.
“Even for those who don’t know him as a friend, his actions have made all of us proud to be associated with Police Scotland.
“It’s been a difficult time for officers lately, being on the public health frontline during the pandemic and dealing with a series of challenging demonstrations, and I hope that the job they’ve done in protecting society is now rightly recognised.”
Insp Hamilton said his family and others should be recognised too. He added: “When the initial news broke, there will have been dozens of families across the west of Scotland who were all wondering whether it was their husband, son, brother, wife or mum involved.
“As officers, we sign up for this job but our families, who provide such huge support, don’t.”
The SPF is supporting PC Whyte’s family and the firearms officers that swiftly contained the tragedy as they face a standard probe by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, who looks at all incidents where somebody dies at the hands of the police.
Insp Hamilton said: “Firearms officers are highly trained. The last thing these officers want to do is take this ultimate action but they are prepared to if they have to. Even then, it is governed by strict protocols and it is right that each incident is examined through this review process.”
All six of those injured at the Park Inn hotel – including two receptionists and three asylum seekers – remain in hospital in Glasgow in a stable condition, though one of them is still critical.
Police made a fresh appeal for witnesses, particularly those who may have captured the events on camera. Officers were yesterday still combing the scene as they try to establish how the chaos unfolded.
Carol declined to comment when approached by the Sunday Mail.