Jordan Eggington – Friday 9th July 2021 – 12pm.
“Your sentence will not give me back the year I lost, neither will it take away my painful and ugly scar, or the mental stress you caused. However, hopefully your sentence will be enough to act as a deterrent to others who think it is okay to attack other emergency services, when they have made a choice to simply do a job.”Taken from Deena Evans’ Victim Impact Statement
Two paramedics, who were stabbed whilst on duty last year, hope the attacker’s sentence sends a strong message of the consequences of assaulting emergency service workers.
53-year-old Martyn Smith has today been sentenced to nine years in prison, with a five year extended licence, after pleading guilty to two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to the pair after they were called out to his home in Wolverhampton last summer.
Shocking police bodycam footage shows the moment Mick Hipgrave and Deena Evans were attacked by Smith with two large kitchen knives as they carried out a welfare check in Stephens Close, on 6th July 2020.
Deena suffered a punctured lung in the attack and subsequently spent three days in hospital following surgery. Mick was stabbed in the back and was discharged from hospital the same day. The pair spent months off work for both their physical and mental recovery. However, the mental scars are still very much there.
The whole incident lasted about 12 seconds, from the moment Mick and Deena entered the property, to Smith being tasered. However, the devastating impact of those 12 seconds will stay with our paramedics forever.
Upon sentencing, Deena read out an extremely emotive victim impact statement directed at her attacker, some of which can be heard below.
Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “The events in Wolverhampton last summer were absolutely devastating. For two paramedics to be stabbed so horrifically whilst simply trying to help a patient is sickening. I want to commend the outstanding resilience of both Mick and Deena in their wishes to come back to work and continue to help their patients after everything they’ve been through. I admire their bravery in openly discussing the attack in order to raise awareness of the dangers paramedics and other front line emergency service workers face on a daily basis. Assaults on ambulance staff, whether it be physical or verbal, are not okay. I hope today’s sentence acts as a deterrent and sends a strong message that attacks on emergency service workers will not be tolerated. I want to also place my thanks on record to the crews who attended Mick and Deena and had the heart-breaking job of saving their lives. My gratitude also goes to the police officers at the scene. If it weren’t for their quick interventions on the day, the result could have been even worse.”
Emergency Services Operations Delivery Director, Nathan Hudson, added: “Our staff join the ambulance service because they want to make a difference and help people. For two paramedics to attend a job and come away with extremely serious injuries, both physically and mentally, is not okay. This is not part of the job. Over the last year 1,162 physical attacks were record on WMAS staff. Over the last five years physical attacks against our staff have risen by more than 60% while verbal assaults have more than doubled. That’s why we are rolling out body cameras for all frontline emergency crews. They will allow staff to record incidents where they feel at risk, with any recording being able to be given in evidence should an actual assault occur.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service is to rollout body cameras for all frontline emergency staff after more than 1,110 were assaulted last year. Physical attacks have risen by over 60% over the last five years, whilst verbal assaults have more than doubled. Funding of almost a million pounds from NHS England has allowed the Trust to purchase 1,288 cameras which will be sufficient for each frontline ambulance crew member to wear one.
Are all frontline paramedics to be issued with stab vests, if not, why not.
Thank you for your message.
Currently no ambulance staff in the country routinely wear stab vests. Indeed, this is the first time that ambulance staff have been physically stabbed.
As a Trust we are about to start a trial of stab vests, but the feedback from staff is that they are quite uneasy about this move as they fear it may make them more of a target.
In addition, we are about to roll out body worn cameras to all staff as part of a national initiative. The cameras do not record all of the time, but only when the staff turn them on. The initial pilot we did showed that the mere wearing of them markedly reduced the level of abuse staff were getting.
Hope that helps.