South Shields homeless hero praised by police after 'extraordinary actions' tackling armed man

A homeless hero who tackled an armed man during an incident in South Shields has been praised by police for his ‘Good Samaritan’ actions.

Michael Ashby, 34, stepped in to detain an armed man who knocked a cyclist off his bike and smashed into another car at a busy South Shields junction.

Under the influence of heroin and cocaine, the man, who was armed with a hunting knife, tried to get into other people’s cars in a bid to flee the scene.

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Michael intervened, disarming and pinning the attacker to the ground until police officers arrived at the scene.

Michael Ashby (centre) receiving commendation from Northumbria Police.

“I didn’t have time to think about myself being in danger. I could see the threat to life and knew I had to act,” he said.

"The only thing that mattered to me was keeping those people safe from this man.”

Michael lives in accommodation in South Shields owned by homelessness charity Emmaus North East.

The charity said he came to them in 2018 after living in other Emmaus communities around the country.

He experienced homelessness throughout his childhood, including a period living in a car with his father.

He found out about Emmaus through the help of a homelessness support worker and has never looked back.

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Emmaus supports people with experience of homelessness, by providing a stable home, personal support and meaningful work for as long as it is needed.

The South Shields branch opened its doors in 2017 and supported more than 100 people.

Ruth Parker, chief operating officer at Emmaus North East, said: “Michael has been a companion at Emmaus North East for four years.

"He is always happy to go above and beyond in our community, taking on additional responsibilities for security and the care for others.

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“It does not surprise me that Michael went out of his way to protect others and the neighborhood around us when there was a serious incident, despite this being a very dangerous situation.

"We are all really proud of him and the commendation he has received from Northumbria Police.”

Detective Chief Inspector Sean Mcguigan of Northumbria Police, said: “This could so easily have been a very different outcome.

"Thankfully, nobody was injured – and that is largely due to the extraordinary actions of Michael.

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"We would always discourage the public from risking their own safety, but it’s important to recognise examples of bravery such as this.”

For more information about Emmaus North East, visit: https://emmaus.org.uk/north-east/