Eight years for baseball bat attack on Lancashire NHS worker

Wednesday, 12 February, 2014

A man who fractured an NHS paramedic’s skull with a baseball bat has been sentenced to 8 years’ detention in a young offenders’ institute (at Preston Crown Court, Monday 10th February, 2014).

The prosecution was led by Lancashire Police and supported by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and NHS Protect.

Lewis Westwood, 19, of Hillbrook Road, Leyland, Preston, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and one count of criminal damage after the unprovoked attack on the ambulance worker, who was attending a 999 callout to Westwood’s mother’s home.

The victim was attending the address with a colleague in October 2013, when the ambulance crew had to withdraw for safety reasons and summon police assistance. As they withdrew, Westwood felled the male crew member with a baseball bat, hitting him with it again after he fell to the floor. With a fractured skull, the victim had to be assisted into his own ambulance by his colleague and taken to hospital.

Nick Martin, Area Security Manager for NHS Protect, said, “Today’s substantial sentence sends the right message that this kind of violent behaviour must not be tolerated. While this attack is at the extreme end of what NHS workers suffer, all attacks on NHS staff are a disgrace and are not “part of the job”. NHS staff should expect to be able to provide care in a safe environment, free from violence and physical assault. NHS Protect urges employers to take firm action in all cases of assault against NHS staff.”

After the attack, the Local Security Management Specialist (LSMS) for NWAS liaised with staff and their employers, providing advice, support and help with access to services. The LSMS also kept other ambulance staff updated as to the progress of the case, reassuring them that the incident was being taken seriously.

NHS Protect provides support and guidance for Local Security Management Specialists (LSMSs) to help them minimise the risk of violence against staff. NHS Protect also trains them to act as effective advocates for victims and to liaise proactively with the police, Crown Prosecution Service and other agencies.

Mr Martin adds: “In this case, the LSMS is to be commended for doing so much to support the injured paramedic and his colleague, and with the support of NHS Protect, press for this successful prosecution.

“The victim, who never wished to be publically identified, and his co-worker, have bravely gone through the ordeal of a court case as well as the attack itself.

In doing so they have helped defend all NHS staff against violence.”



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