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Fareham man sentenced for attacking ambulance crew with a meat cleaver

|News, Violent crime

A Fareham man has been sentenced today (27 January 2023) at Swindon Crown Court after he launched an attack on two ambulance crew workers who were there to give him medical attention.

Paul Searle, 59, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for intending to cause grievous bodily harm, assaulting an emergency worker and for threatening a person with a meat cleaver.

The ambulance crew attended Searle’s home in the early hours of 11 February 2021. He became verbally abusive towards them, so much so that they returned to their ambulance.

Searle approached the ambulance cab with a meat cleaver. He opened the door and pulled one of the ambulance crew out of the cab, shouting and threatening him with the cleaver. Having called for assistance, the second crew member jumped to the aid of her colleague, and they managed to restrain Searle until police arrived.

Both emergency workers were injured, with one sustaining a nasty hand injury from the meat cleaver.

Simon Clark, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “Ambulance staff and other emergency workers have no idea what they might be confronted with when they are called for help, but they bravely continue to provide services even though they might be putting their own safety at risk.

“I would like to thank both emergency workers for supporting the prosecution of this case. This would have undoubtedly been an extremely frightening and traumatic experience for them. Their evidence ensured that Paul Searle was found guilty and that he will face the consequences of his actions.

“Whenever our legal test is met, we will prosecute anyone that commits a criminal offence against emergency services workers, and we will ensure offenders are brought to justice.”

Emma Cooper, Paramedic at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s come as a great relief to finally have some closure. I am proud of the actions that I took that night to prevent it from becoming a different outcome. No-one in our line of work should have to face the possibility of not returning home to our families.

“Paul Searle decided he was going to subject us to that ordeal, and even though it all happened in a short space of time, the lasting impact has been profound.

“There are already too many reports of both physical and verbal abuse towards my fellow NHS colleagues, I really hope this case demonstrates that such behaviour will not be accepted nor tolerated.”

Notes to editors

  • Paul Searle DOB 09/08/1963
  • He was sentenced to six and a half years for the GBH, six months for assaulting an emergency worker (to be served consecutively) and 18 months for threatening a person with a blade in a public place (to be served concurrently).

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