Death threat to paramedic trying to save teenager
Friday, November 13, 2009, 09:22
A MAN threatened to kill a paramedic who was trying to save the life of a teenager after he collapsed at his house with a heart attack, a court heard.
South Devon magistrates in Torquay were told Robert Lane became agitated and angry with ambulance staff who were trying to revive the 19-year-old man.
Following the case, a spokesman for the ambulance service said: "Any abuse, whether verbal or physical, will not be tolerated. The trust takes incidents of this nature very seriously."
The court heard on Saturday, October 24, the young man, who had been living with Lane at his Prospect Lane home in Brixham for the past two years, collapsed with suspected heart failure after ingesting four days' worth of anti-depressants in one go.
Lane, 48, called 999 but was angry with the paramedics when he claimed they turned up 35 minutes later.
Lyndsey Baker, prosecuting, said: "When ambulance staff arrived, the suspect became abusive. He grabbed one of the staff and tried to throw a punch at him. Another paramedic tried to intervene and he again tried to throw a punch at him."
In a statement, paramedic Martin Stone said: "I felt the male was going to assault me and was in fear of violence. It was completely unprovoked while we were treating someone for a serious condition."
In his statement, Mr Stone said: "He (Lane) said to me, 'If anything happens to him you're dead'. I was in fear for my safety and that of my colleagues."
The court heard on the day Lane had drunk two pints of lager, was in an agitated state and was angry at the situation. Lane yesterday pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing or hindering an emergency worker.
Lane's solicitor, Alan Parsons, said his client had been providing accommodation to the 19-year-old, a friend of his own 19-year-old son, for two and a half years after he fell out with his family. Mr Parsons said: "He treated him like a second son."
The court heard the lad, who is suffering from depression, had not had his medication for four days and tried to 'catch up' by taking four days worth in one go.
Mr Parsons added: "One of the side effects was that this young man collapsed on Mr Lane's floor. He was unconscious. There was a delay in the ambulance coming to the flat. Mr Lane was very distressed. He thought this young man who was in his care was dead."
Mr Parsons said the 19-year-old man was successfully resuscitated by paramedics.
He added: "Mr Lane panicked. He asked the paramedics why the ambulance took so long.
"He accepts he obstructed their activity but the last thing he wanted was to hinder anything which could stop them from saving this 19-year-old's life. It was a regrettable situation, but the young man has now made a full recovery."
Sentencing Lane to an 18-month conditional discharge, £100 compensation and an £85 fine, Torbay magistrates said: "We understand the stress you were under on the day, but public sector workers, especially paramedics deserve support not threats. This was a very serious offence."
The ambulance service spokesman said paramedics arrived on the scene within four minutes.
She said: "Every ambulance clinician should be able to fulfil their life-saving role without fear of abuse or assault. As this case demonstrates there will be consequences for people who believe it is acceptable to disrespect ambulance personnel."