A ‘drunken lout’ who battered a paramedic sent to help treat his dad has been spared jail.
Thomas Duffy, 23, was on a work night out in Manchester city centre shortly before Christmas last year when his father fell and lost consciousness.
Not long after Duffy called 999 medic Ian Shortman arrived, telling him his father’s blood pressure was low and he needed to be taken to hospital.
But Duffy started abusing Mr Shortman before launching a ‘violent and shocking’ attack which the paramedic described as ‘the most life-threatening situation’ he had faced in his 20-year career.
Duffy, from Hyde in Greater Manchester, admitted assaulting an emergency worker at a previous hearing and was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
In a statement outlining the impact of what happened on December 21, Mr Shortman said: ‘I do this job to help people and I find it disturbing that someone would do this to me.
‘He called for us to attend and see his father. It could have caused an end to my career… and even an end to my life.
‘This is the most life-threatening situation I have been involved in my 20 years as a paramedic.’
Defending, Zoe Earle told Manchester Magistrates’ Court that Duffy was ‘extremely intoxicated’ at the time, adding: ‘He doesn’t ordinarily drink and he found himself in that social situation.
‘This was out of character. He is utterly ashamed of his behaviour.
‘He works full-time in the construction industry, he has a relatively good job. He can’t provide an explanation – other than he shouldn’t have drunk the amount that he did.
‘He had just started to take antidepressants, so perhaps that mixed with the alcohol, and him not being used to it, had an adverse effect.
‘He offers his sincere apologies to the paramedic. This has been looming over him for quite some time.’
District Judge Margaret McCormack told Duffy: ‘These people are going out there, putting their lives on the line, only to be attacked by drunken louts.
‘He was there trying to provide serious care to your father. This was how he was responded to.
‘I accept you are remorseful and ashamed, but this does cross the custody threshold.’
Duffy was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in compensation to Mr Shortman and £213 in court costs.
Following the hearing, Mr Shortman said: ‘I hope the verdict acts as a deterrent to others so that my colleagues don’t have to be subject to the same horrendous abuse.
‘This was a very frightening experience and although I was thankfully not seriously physically injured, this has had a profound effect on me personally and now causes me to be very wary of my surroundings.
‘I hope Mr Duffy now takes time to reflect on his actions and understands the severity of what could have happened.’
Dan Smith, the North West Ambulance Service’s head of service in Greater Manchester, said: ‘This was a violent and shocking assault and we thank our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police who responded to support Ian.
‘The abuse of any emergency services staff will never be tolerated and I hope the suspended sentence issued today gives the assailant an opportunity to learn from this.
‘Ian has been well supported by the trust, his colleagues and the city centre community and we are thankful that he has had no serious or lasting injuries.
‘Our staff work extremely hard to care for people when they are needed the most and they should absolutely be able to do so without fear of being attacked.
‘We will always work to support our staff with prosecutions.’
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