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Suspended sentence for man who attacked paramedic

By Alan Erwin

Published 26/11/2015

The paramedic was answering an emergency call.
The paramedic was answering an emergency call.

A man who attacked a paramedic on an emergency call-out has been handed a three-month suspended prison sentence.

William McClarnon, 48, assaulted the victim as he tried to treat a friend bleeding heavily from a head wound in north Belfast.

At one stage the paramedic and a female colleague had to take refuge in their ambulance and seek police help.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard today that the paramedic crew had gone to McClarnon's New Lodge Road home on July 30.

As they dealt with the other man's injury the defendant became aggressive without any provocation, a judge was told.

A prosecution lawyer said: "He asked do you want to box, and the injured party said 'no I don't'."

McClarnon shoved the victim, pressed his face against his and then punched him in the chest.

He continued coming forward, with his fists raised in a fighting stance, it was claimed.

The prosecutor continued: "Both paramedics had to retreat to the ambulance at which point they requested police assistance."

As they waited for help McClarnon was said to have continued shouting abuse at them.

"The injured party was very upset, he said he was there to help people and didn't expect to be hit," the prosecution lawyer added.

Defence solicitor Sean McCann told the court his client was an alcoholic who mistakenly believed he had been blamed for the other man's injuries.

"A man in drunkenness thought he had been accused of assaulting his friend who had fallen in the bathroom and was bleeding profusely," Mr McCann said.

The solicitor stressed McClarnon's continued efforts to beat his addiction to alcohol and remain sober.

District Judge Eamon King told McClarnon: "The last thing a paramedic or any public servant needs in circumstances such as this is to be subjected to aggression, abuse or an assault.

"You can understand the courts have to apply a zero-tolerance."

Imposing a three-month prison sentence for the common assault, suspended for 12 months, the judge added: "If you weren't sober that would be immediate custody."

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