Stoke & Staffordshire

Woman pleads guilty after Tunstall ambulance abuse note

Note on phone Image copyright West Midlands Ambulance Service
Image caption The note was left on an ambulance in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent

A 26-year-old woman who verbally abused paramedics and left a foul-mouthed note on their ambulance in Stoke-on-Trent has admitted a public order offence.

Kirsty Sharman, of Parsonage Street, also accepted writing the handwritten message, which said she did not care "if the whole street collasped [sic]" .

Paramedics were dealing with a 999 call in her street in Tunstall on Sunday.

At North Staffordshire Justice Centre, chairman of the magistrates said it was an "absolutely despicable incident".

'Abuse not acceptable'

The ambulance had been responding to a next door neighbour's emergency call to help his wife, who was "experiencing breathing difficulties", prosecutor Liz Ryder told magistrates.

She said there had been "ongoing difficulties" between Sharman and her neighbours, leading to a restraining order being issued against her in January.

Miss Ryder said: "A neighbour saw that note being deposited by the defendant and they took it from the rear windscreen and posted it back through the defendant's address, having torn it apart."

During the incident, Sharman also went into the street and swore at a paramedic, telling him to move the ambulance.

Sentencing, the chairman of the magistrates Christopher Rushton told her: "This was an absolutely despicable incident.

"The fact it was directed at an ambulance crew providing a public service to a sick person. That crew should not be subject to actions such as these."

Sharman was fined £120 and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and £135 costs.

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Through her solicitor, Hayley Keegan, Sharman offered her "most sincere apologies to the ambulance staff".

She was arrested after a social media plea by West Midlands Ambulance Service staff who reported colleagues had the note put on the back windscreen of a vehicle.

The ambulance service welcomed the outcome "of this unpleasant case".

A spokesman said: "We hope that this case will serve as a warning to others that abusing our staff is not acceptable.

"Our staff will only block roads or park in front of drives if absolutely necessary in the interests of patient care. In this case, they were parked at the side of the road and were not blocking a driveway."

Ch Insp John Owen, from Staffordshire Police, said: "This type of behaviour cannot be tolerated, and I know my view is supported by 99% of our community."

A separate charge of breaching a restraining order was withdrawn by the prosecution.

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