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Road rage attack man forced ambulance to stop and punched driver

Published 25/02/2016

Michael Kearns was himself a former ambulance driver
Michael Kearns was himself a former ambulance driver

A man who forced an ambulance to stop before punching the driver in a road rage attack has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

Michael Kearns, himself a former ambulance driver, cut up the vehicle which was transporting an elderly patient to hospital at a roundabout in Chelmsford, Essex, on November 11 2014.

He then forced the ambulance to stop by braking and pulling his Ford Focus in front of it, prosecutor Alex Sutter-Green told Chelmsford Crown Court.

Mr Sutter-Green added: "There was a patient in the back of the vehicle.

"The defendant got out, opened the door and punched the victim."

The court heard Kearns, 46, of Broomfield, Chelmsford, struck a glancing blow and his victim was not badly hurt.

A paramedic who was also travelling in the ambulance witnessed the attack.

Kearns had denied dangerous driving and assault but was found guilty after a trial.

The court heard he had a previous conviction of assault following a similar incident in 2013.

Tom Nicholson Pratt, mitigating, said his client suffered from post-traumatic stress after himself being attacked several times while working as an ambulance driver.

He added: "He only threw one punch which connected - the driver referred to it glancing off his cheek."

Kearns cares for his sick mother and works as a professional driver transporting organs for transplant, he said.

Judge Patricia Lynch ordered him to serve a nine-month sentence suspended for two years.

She banned him from driving for a year and ordered him to complete unpaid work for the community.

She added: "You have led an otherwise good and industrious life.

"The post-traumatic stress from your previous work helps explain why an otherwise sensible and sane person commits offences such as this.

"It is a very serious matter and it is just not acceptable."

Robert Morton, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Trust, said: " It is completely unacceptable for anyone under any circumstances to assault our staff and volunteers in the line of duty.

"We have a zero-tolerance approach to violence and aggression and will always work closely with the police to see that proper justice is dealt.

"Even though the percentage of physical assaults is very small, we will always support and advocate for the prosecution of those who do so."

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