TWO ambulance crew were forced to flee in terror as they were attacked by a violent patient who warned them he needed to kill someone to get help.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard 57-year-old Keith Winning called 999 himself but turned on emergency care assistant Karen Rowland and her crew-mate Denika O’Brien outside his home in Frogmore Lane, Waterlooville on November 24 last year.
Terrified Karen, 55, was left battered and bruised after he chased her down the street and punched her twice in the face, once in the chest, ripped her shirt and pushed her to the ground.
After he was jailed for nine months under tough new law, she told The News: ‘I feared for my life.’
Winning also punched out her paramedic crew-mate, who had only been qualified for four weeks, who came to aid her rescue. He fell to the ground, leaving the pair to flee into their ambulance and lock the doors before police arrived after two minutes.
In a statement read by prosecutor Martyn Booth, Denika told the court: ‘All I wanted to do was to make sure no-one got hurt and it ended up with us being the victims.’
Both crew had been ushered into the home by his elderly parents but became concerned after seeing him with a bent spoon and white substance.
A judge branded the attack close to the ‘worst example’ of its type and praised the ‘thoroughly professional and helpful’ medics.
Mark Roberts, clinical operations manager for South East Hampshire at South Central Ambulance Service said he hopes the jailing of Winning acts as a deterrent. He added: ‘ Ambulance staff are there to help people in need of emergency medical assistance and should never have to suffer any form of physical or verbal abuse whilst they carry out their duties.’
Mr Booth told the court that Karen had alerted police after Winning threatened to smack a bowl over his own mother’s head but when she came back the defendant continued to make threats.
Mr Booth said: ‘He was repeatedly saying he did not want to harm the ladies but wanted to kill somebody so he could get help.’
Winning had squared up to Karen and kept coming at her forcing to flee. When outside he at first grabbed a man who was passing by before letting him go and launching his attack on Karen, the court heard.
Sentencing, judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘The circumstances of these two offences arising out of the same incident were thoroughly appalling.’
He added: ‘You grabbed one of these paramedics, punched her violently to the face and the chest, ripped her shirt and pushed her in such a way that her face was slammed down into the pavement and tried to kick her on the ground and when the other tried to assist, you punched her.
‘Such was the violence that you exhibited that both of those paramedics had to run for their own safety to their ambulance and lock themselves in it.
‘As offences of this type go, this must come very near the worst example that there could be.’
Winning, who has 25 convictions for 53 offences, admitted assault by beating of an emergency worker and common assault of an emergency worker under the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018. It was brought in on November 10, two weeks before the assaults. It brought in maximum sentences of 12 months, up from six.
Edward Hollingsworth, for Winning, said his client was ‘shocked and embarrassed’ at his own actions, but he has an emotionally unstable personality disorder.
‘He himself had called the emergency services - a cry for help which unfortunately turned very ugly,’ the barrister said.
But disregarding this as an excuse, judge Hetherington told Winning: ‘You were in a thoroughly volatile mood and the reason for that was not that you have mental health difficulties but that you have mental health difficulties and unstable personality disorder and you have chosen not to follow the medication that you should have followed but instead to become heavily intoxicated with alcohol and crack cocaine and that’s why you behaved in this extremely violent way.’