Medic attacked as she helped dying three-year-old
A woman who attacked ambulance staff at the scene of a fatal road accident in Coleraine in which a three-year-old died should be prosecuted, the senior coroner for Northern Ireland has said.
John Leckey took the unusual step of calling the paramedics to give evidence at the inquest into the death of Roma McAleese because he wanted the attack put into the public domain.
Sharon Robinson and Heather Moore told yesterday’s inquest that they had just left the scene of another call at Downhill Beach when they received the call to attend the scene of an accident involving a three-year-old child in Ashdale in Coleraine.
Ms Moore said: “When we arrived at the scene there were lots of children and adults standing about.
“When I exited the ambulance, a woman wearing glasses came over to us and started shouting ‘where the hell were you, what kept you'.
“As we attended to the child who was lying on road I was punched several times on my back.
“We put the child into the ambulance and drove to Causeway Hospital where we handed the child over to staff there.”
Ms Moore's colleague Ms Robinson confirmed that she had been attacked in the same way.
Mr Leckey said he did not normally call ambulance staff to give evidence “because their time is very precious, but I want this in the public domain”.
“It is quite disgraceful and totally unwarranted that emergency services are subjected to attacks as they try to help people,” he said.
“Whoever did this is a disgrace and should be ashamed. I want to know if the police know who this is and if action has been taken against them — but if there hasn't been, then there should be.”
The coroner later heard evidence from PSNI Sergeant David Burns who had been called to the scene of the accident.
The police officer said the ambulance staff told him about the attacks on them. He told Mr Leckey that he had made some inquiries about the identity of the woman who assaulted the paramedics but that he had been unable to find out who it was.
Mr Leckey said that he read all too often about attacks on emergency services and that it was “totally unacceptable”.
Roma’s mother Andrea McAleese said that she was totally unaware of any attack on the ambulance women.
She added: “I would just like to also say publicly on behalf of my husband Gary and myself that we are very grateful and appreciate all the help the ambulance people and the staff at the hospital did for us and in no way do we agree with any kind of attack on anyone.”