Knife wound hero: ‘I would do it again’
Published: January 17, 2008 | 6914th good news item since 2003
A SPLIT-second decision to protect strangers almost cost a city man his life when he came within inches of death.
Talking for the first time today, as he recovers from having his stomach slashed open by a knife, 22-year-old Nick Petruzziello said stepping into a scene of mayhem and chaos in the city centre had made him determined to become a police officer.
When fear broke out in Long Causeway after a car mowed down two people, Nick became the hero of the moment as he kept a cool head, and his Territorial Army training kicked in.
Today, Nick, who works as a painter and decorator in his family’s business, is still weak and recovering at home in Dogsthorpe after being stabbed in a melee following the crash. He knew he had a close shave when surgeons told him the blade had come close to his bowel and he had to undergo a two hour operation.
Speaking exclusively to The Evening Telegraph he told how shopping at the sales with girlfriend Jennie Westall on January 5 had probably changed his life forever. They had just picked up a takeaway when Nick heard a bang and saw a car come through a barrier and shoppers went flying.
He said: “I remember people getting knocked down. I saw a girl in the air. It was surreal. The car was coming towards me and I had to push my girlfriend out of the way.”
In the panic and jostling that followed the incident Nick tried to bring calm to the crowd and then felt a sharp pain in his abdomen.
“It felt like a punch but hurt more. Then I looked down and could see an open wound and I had to hold my stomach in. I was shouting to people that there was a knife.”
Paramedics rushed Nick to Peterborough District Hospital, where he underwent major surgery. Today he has 13 stitches and a five inch scar.
Recovery will take a little time but he is being supported by his parents Linda (42), Dario (45), brother Michael (20) and a network of friends and family.
He said: “I was really lucky. I think the gym saved me. If I wasn’t fit , I wouldn’t have got out of hospital so quickly.”
Nick said his Army cadet training at Stamford College and then time in the TA stood him in good stead.
He sent thanks to security guards and shoppers who rallied round to help.
He said: “Everyone did so well. People were helping those on the floor. We have so many different cultures here and yet everyone came together.
“I’ve gained experience of dealing with something like this, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I’ve always wanted to help people and I’m hoping to get into the police force. This has made me even more determined.”