Rotherhithe man sentenced to prison for threatening ambulance staff

A Rotherhithe man, who threatened and delayed ambulance workers getting to a patient, was yesterday (Wednesday 21 November) sentenced to eight weeks in prison and ordered to pay £600 compensation and costs.

Pierpaolo Melis, 43, was convicted of verbal assault at Camberwell Magistrates Court for the incident on 5 September at Rennie Estate, Rotherhithe New Road.

Deptford emergency medical technicians Alison Butcher and Clive Harris were on their way to treat an elderly lady who had fallen. Clive said: “When we arrived, we parked the ambulance next to a green making sure we didn’t block in other cars. Suddenly we saw a man running towards us yelling something, and our first thought was that he needed medical help.

“But instead he was shouting abuse at us and accused us of blocking the view from his flat, even though the ambulance was parked 60 feet from his window.

“He caught up with us by the lift and put his arm across the door blocking us getting to the patient. We tried to explain that we needed to go and assess the patient to find out how seriously ill or injured she was.”

Alison added: “I hit the emergency button and the police arrived shortly after to detain him.

“It was a very frightening experience – I’m just glad it’s over and that justice has been done. The judge was keen to send out a message to the public that emergency services should not be threatened while carrying out their duties.”

Mr Melis was ordered to pay £125 to both Alison and Clive, and £350 prosecution costs.

Deptford Ambulance Operations Manager Graham Norton said: “This case demonstrates that assaults on staff will not be tolerated and we will pursue prosecution. Our staff should be able to treat patients in their community without fear of being attacked.”

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