Man who stole defibrillator from Oxenholme train station is spared jail

Thomas Paul McNaught was later detained in Carlisle Credit: Craig McGlasson News

A thief who stole a defibrillator from a community responder has been spared an immediate prison sentence.

CCTV footage showed Thomas Paul McNaught taking the defibrillator before boarding a train. McNaught was later detained in Carlisle.

The 25-year-old had come to the attention of station staff by “making a nuisance of himself” as first aid was administered to a woman who had collapsed on a platform, a court heard.

North West Ambulance Service volunteer Kerry Stafford-Roberts had been called to attend a medical emergency at Oxenholme train station, near Kendal, at 6:40pm on 1 December 2022.

On arrival at the station, Mr Staffiord-Roberts made his way to platform two where a female was lying on the ground.

“He set his defibrillator down next to her head,” prosecutor Pam Ward told Carlisle Magistrates’ Court.

The woman stood up briefly but then collapsed, with her feet next to the unused device.

Approxiately 45 minutes later, Mr Stafford-Roberts handed over treatment to paramedics.

The woman was taken away by the paramedics and Mr Stafford-Roberts began to gather his belongings.

“He then noticed his defibrillator was missing,” said Mrs Ward.

It had been stolen by McNaught.

“I’m very disappointed this happened,” Mr Stafford-Roberts stated.

“The female I treated was having a serious cardiac incident. If the condition had worsened to the point where I would have had to use the defibrillator, the consequences of it being missing could have been fatal.”

McNaught, of Hathaway Lane in Glasgow, admitted theft during his first court appearance and was sentenced on Tuesday 17 January.

Nick Kennon, defending, said: “The offence is as inexplicable as it is inexcusable.”

It had been “opportunistic,” with McNaught addressing his wrongdoing with a probation officer.

“He expressed genuine remorse,” it was noted. “He displayed shame and described his actions as horrible.”

McNaught had no recollection of the theft. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2005 which had “dogged and plagued him ever since,” leading to memory loss, said Mr Kennon.

Magistrates suspended a 26 week jail term for 12 months, concluding there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. McNaught must complete 10 days of probation work and pay £1,200 compensation.

British Transport Police announced earlier this month that the defibrillator had been recovered from a hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere.

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