Clitheroe ambulance attack: medics welcome court case

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The North West Ambulance Service has welcomed the prosecution of a man who threatened and attacked ambulance staff – as well as urinating in the back of an ambulance – after they were called out to assist him.

The offender, 32-year-old Matthew Braithwaite, appeared before Blackburn magistrates last month where he pleaded guilty to assault, criminal damage and possession of cannabis.

As previously reported in the Clitheroe Advertiser, Braithwaite – who lives in Padiham and works as a refuse collector in the Ribble Valley – was picked up from The Dog public house, in Wellgate, Clitheroe, on December 22nd last year. He had been involved in an assault and suffered a head injury.

Once in the ambulance he became abusive and threatening towards the paramedic treating him, at one point grabbing his hand and squeezing hard. When he lashed out again, the driver was forced to stop and call the police, but after the officer arrived Braithwaite was seen to deliberately urinate in the back of the ambulance, meaning it had to be taken out of service to be deep cleaned.

In mitigation, the court heard Braithwaite could remember little of the incident, due either to his head injury or the alcohol he had drunk, but that he fully accepted the paramedics’ version of events and apologised for his behaviour.

When he returned to court for sentencing, Braithwaite was made subject to a 12-month community order, a supervision order, and ordered to pay an £85 fine as well as £150 in compensation for the damage caused.

Welcoming both the prosecution and sentence, the North West Ambulance Service’s acting head of service for Cumbria and Lancashire, Ian Walmsley, said: “If an assault occurs, whether physical or verbal, towards staff or on our vehicles, NWAS will always fully support the staff members involved and encourage them to report the incident to the police to ensure appropriate action is taken against the perpetrator.

“The behaviour of this individual is totally unacceptable. When an incident like this occurs, it puts additional pressure on other crews working in the area, as well as an unnecessary cost to the organisation.

“There is also the psychological effect on staff to consider, assaults can have a detrimental effect as they are here to care and treat the public, not be attacked by them. We fully welcome this sentence and hope it sends out a very clear message to anyone who assaults our crews, either verbally or physically, that they face the possibility of prosecution.

“The protection of our staff is a priority and we go to great lengths to ensure our staff can treat patients in an environment that is safe and secure.”