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Northern Ireland Army medic honoured over bid to save stab attack family

By Claire O'Boyle

An Army medic from Northern Ireland has received an award for battling to save a woman and her teenage son who had been stabbed by a homeless man.

Private Kirbi Stewart, a combat medical technician, was nearing the end of a 15-week training placement when her crew was called to a scene of carnage - and the 21-year-old fought bravely to save the family.

Mother Tracey Wilkinson had been stabbed 17 times at her home in Stourbridge, West Midlands, and her son Pierce was stabbed eight times.

Mrs Wilkinson's husband Peter had been stabbed too, but after managing to call emergency services, he was saved by Kirbi and the other paramedics who arrived at the scene.

Tragically, Tracey died before she made it to hospital, and 13-year-old Pierce died a short time later.

Aaron Barley (24) was jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years in October 2017 for the murders and the attempted murder of Peter Wilkinson. The minimum jail term was increased by four years at the Court of Appeal in December 2017.

Private Stewart received a Chief Officer Commendation for outstanding dedication and service above and beyond the call of duty at yesterday's West Midlands Ambulance Service Awards at The Copthorne Hotel, Brierley Hill.

She said: "I am deeply honoured to receive this award. We responded to a terrible tragedy.

"Unfortunately, the wounds inflicted on the mother and son were too severe but I am proud that our efforts helped save the life of Mr Wilkinson.

"My clinical training with West Midlands Ambulance Service will always stay with me in my Army career.

"Just two days after being part of the crew called to the Stourbridge murders, I helped to save the life of a baby whose mother did not know that she was pregnant."

Private Stewart has since returned to her role as an Army medic, based in Aldershot.

She is a member of the Army Medical Services Unit, a high readiness deployable hospital that can support soldiers anywhere in the world.

In 2016, Barley, who was living on the streets, was brought home by Mrs Wilkinson, who saw him trying to stay warm in a cardboard box.

Barley became a regular visitor at the family's home, doing odd jobs in return for food and cash.

He attended an alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre.

Volunteers later said he had been obsessed with weapons.

Barley, who was orphaned by the age of six, stabbed Mrs Wilkinson and Pierce first, before attacking Mr Wilkinson as he returned home from walking the family dog on March 29 last year.

When he appeared in court two days later, the killer was flanked by three officers in full riot gear, after he tried to bite and punch police in custody.

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