Portsmouth man jailed for attacking terrified paramedics in Fareham with a meat cleaver

Paul Searle, of Southsea, jailed for attacking paramedics with a meat cleaver Credit: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police

A Portsmouth man has been jailed for seven years for attacking terrified paramedics who had responded to his 999 call during the third covid shutdown - threatening to slice an ear off.

Paul Searle screamed and shouted at the frightened South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) crew, who had been trying to help him as he struggled to breathe.

The crew ran for their ambulance as they attempted to escape, but Searle chased after, wrenching open the driver's door and dragging Scott Bruce from behind the wheel - causing the ambulance to crash into a parked car.

Colleague Emma Cooper radioed for help before rushing to help her colleague and together they wrestled Searle, of St David’s Road, Southsea, to the ground.

Meat cleaver used in attack on paramedics Credit: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police

His Honour Judge Cutler said that it was an ‘extremely frightening attack’ on dedicated emergency workers who were doing their job.

He told Swindon Crown Court: “This country values its paramedics, we need them to do their jobs. The public supports them and the law will do what it can to protect them.”

Both emergency workers were injured, with one sustaining a nasty hand injury from the meat cleaver.

Emma Cooper, Paramedic at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s come as a great relief to finally have some closure. I am proud of the actions that I took that night to prevent it from becoming a different outcome. No-one in our line of work should have to face the possibility of not returning home to our families.

“Paul Searle decided he was going to subject us to that ordeal, and even though it all happened in a short space of time, the lasting impact has been profound.

“There are already too many reports of both physical and verbal abuse towards my fellow NHS colleagues, I really hope this case demonstrates that such behaviour will not be accepted nor tolerated.”

Simon Clark, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “Ambulance staff and other emergency workers have no idea what they might be confronted with when they are called for help, but they bravely continue to provide services even though they might be putting their own safety at risk.

“I would like to thank both emergency workers for supporting the prosecution of this case. This would have undoubtedly been an extremely frightening and traumatic experience for them. Their evidence ensured that Paul Searle was found guilty and that he will face the consequences of his actions."