Grandmother praises air ambulance for 'saving her life' after husband stabbed her on Boxing Day

Helen with her daughter. Credit: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance

A grandmother from Hampshire who was stabbed twice by her husband after they got into a disagreement about a Christmas card on Boxing Day, has praised the air ambulance for saving her life.

Helen Mclaren, 61, was at her home with her husband Ray, on December 26 last year, when he brandished kitchen knife from the dishwasher.

“I thought he was going to harm himself, so I told him he wouldn’t see the children and grandchildren anymore,” Helen said.  

“It's not me that's not going to see them again,” replied Ray, “it's you.”   

Ray then stabbed Helen in the arm and, unbeknownst to her at the time, in the chest, penetrating her heart – a time-critical, life-threatening injury. 

Helen then managed to run out of the door to her neighbour’s house, who then called the emergency services, which included a doctor and specialist paramedic from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

Thanks to a wet red patch seeping through her shirt, the neighbours and ambulance crews realised that Helen also had a stab wound to her chest.   

Raymond Mclaren was jailed for 7 years Credit: Hampshire Police

Helen was loaded into an ambulance so the air ambulance crew could work on her. Shortly after, however, she rapidly deteriorated and became critically unwell with an unrecordable blood pressure – she was in ‘peri-arrest’ (about to go into a cardiac arrest).  

The crew gave her emergency blood and clotting products to keep her alive. She was later found to have a pericardial effusion – a buildup of extra fluid in the space around the heart – confirming that the stab wound had penetrated the heart.  

Helen required life-saving emergency surgery to repair the wound in her heart and spent the next two weeks in hospital.  

In a statement to detectives Mclaren initially tried to claim the injuries had been caused accidentally. But when he appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court, on 23 May, he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Mclaren, of Little Green in Gosport, was sentenced to seven years in prison at Portsmouth Crown Court in July.

“My girls were told they didn’t know whether they could save me or not,” said Helen. “I was distraught by that. What must they have been going through? Even now we still can't believe it happened.” 

Helen has gone on to raise almost £2,000 for the life-saving charity through a Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams tribute night near her home in Gosport.  

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