Drug user jailed after he stabbed paramedic in the leg in an ambulance

Court latest
Court latest

A brave paramedic faces the agony of ongoing blood tests to check for viruses after she was stabbed above her knee with a drug user’s syringe in a Mansfield street.

The emergency worker was left afraid to go to work and has flashbacks of the angry face of her attacker, Thomas Kirby.

The horrifying details of her ordeal were revealed at Nottingham Crown Court as Kirby was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to assault, causing bodily harm.

East Midlands Ambulance Service said due to the nature of the attack, the paramedic – who has dedicated her life to helping others – had to undergo urgent medical treatment including blood tests and antibiotics.

And the case comes after the Post revealed in September ambulance crews in Nottingham have been assaulted 213 times in the past year - more than any other county in the region.

Robby Singh, prosecuting, said the paramedic and her colleague had responded to reports of a suicidal man outside a Mansfield pub at 6.30am on August 18.

Kirby started to walk towards her and she said: “Shall we look at you?” But the patient was suddenly abusive and erratic, and was thought to have possibly “taken something”.

Her colleague saw his behaviour and said “come on we are only trying to help you”.

Both paramedics left “for their own safety,” said Mr Singh. “The defendant appeared to pick something up from a doorway.”

By now the terrified paramedics were preparing to leave - but Kirby ran towards their ambulance and forced the passenger door open where the victim was sitting.

She desperately tried to keep the door shut, but Kirby managed to punch her on her left shoulder as he got the door open.

“She tried to twist out of the way of the attack and put her left knee up to protect herself,” said Mr Singh. “The defendant made a fast downward motion with one hand.”

She felt a sharp pain and saw an object fly past her into the ambulance.

They drove off with the door open and stopped and called police.

The syringe was found in the ambulance and the woman had a puncture wound above her knee and a piece of metal stuck in her trousers.

Now she has to have ongoing blood tests to check for blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis A and B or HIV. There was no suggestion the defendant has any of those illnesses.

Judge Gregory Dickinson QC said the tests on the woman were negative.

“One hopes it will remain so,” he said. “The fear must be very real.”

ged 24 and with 25 previous convictions for 62 offences, Kirby has longstanding mental health problems, the court heard. His latest address is Lincoln Prison.

After the attack, he was found lying against a fence in Blidworth Lane, Rainworth, asking a member of the public to ring his father and he admitted stabbing an ambulance worker.

Judge Dickinson told him in the dock: “You first punched her to the shoulder, but then stabbed her to the knee with a syringe. That was your needle you had with you. Because, against your other problems, you are an intravenous drug user.”

As a precaution, the woman is having the blood tests and “everybody hopes they will remain negative”, said the judge.

“She has hanging over her continuing fear she may have contracted a serious blood borne disease such as hepatitis,” he added.

“This was an assault upon a paramedic; someone who was at work to serve the public doing a demanding job.

“It is plainly a serious aggravating feature that the offence was committed against a paramedic who was doing her job and trying to protect you.”

Digby Johnson, mitigating, said Kirby has no relations to help and no friends.

“He knows there is nothing for him,” he said.

Mark Ward, local security management specialist at EMAS, said after the hearing: “Any assault on a member of our staff is absolutely unacceptable, but this attack was particularly distressing for the ambulance crew involved.

“Due to the nature of the attack, our paramedic – who has dedicated her life to helping others – had to undergo urgent medical treatment including blood tests and antibiotics.

“We are pleased that the severity of this attack has been recognised by the courts today. We have zero tolerance of anyone who verbally, physically, sexually or racially abuses our crews and will always pursue the maximum sentence possible.”