Patient who assaulted ambulance staff during medical treatment convicted

A man who groped a medic who was helping to treat him for a head injury has been found guilty of sexual assault.

Lizzie Smith
Lizzie Smith

Sabeh Shalmair was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years, ordered to do 120 hours of community service, and given a £250 fine.

Emergency Ambulance Crew medic Lizzie Smith, 25, and a colleague were called to an altercation in Willesden High Road, NW10, one Friday night in June this year.

While treating Shalmair in the ambulance for facial cuts, he stared at Lizzie repeatedly and tried to maintain long periods of eye contact, making her uncomfortable. When she reached across the ambulance to put something in a bin, he grabbed her bottom.  Police were already on the scene for the altercation and Shalmair was later arrested.

Shalmair pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but was convicted at Willesden Magistrates Court, NW10, last month.

Following the sentencing on Friday (1 November), Lizzie decided to speak out in the hope it will deter other people who think it is acceptable to abuse, assault or grope ambulance staff.

She said:

“Sadly these incidents happen far more than they should and it isn’t acceptable. It shouldn’t be happening in the street, it shouldn’t be happening in nightclubs, and it shouldn’t be happening while I am working. I think it’s important to raise awareness that these sort of assaults will not be tolerated.”

Lizzie also wants to be honest about the shock that can grip someone when an assault happens and prevent them speaking up.

She added:

“I always hoped that I would know what to say and do in that kind of moment, but I was so taken aback that I just didn’t say anything. Fortunately, my crew mate saw him and insisted he stop but he just sat there smirking.

“I am pleased with the sentence. This individual didn’t show any remorse and his community service will give him plenty of time to think about what he did.”

London Ambulance Service staff are encouraged to report incidents and resources are in place to support those who become victims of abuse. However, figures show physical and verbal abuse against staff is a persistent issue.

This year the Service has recorded around ten physical assaults a week. More than 500 threats and cases of verbal abuse have been aimed at medics, and 999 and 111-call handlers over the same period.

London Ambulance Service Chief Operating Officer Khadir Meer, said:

“We are determined to ensure that abuse is no longer seen as something which ‘goes with the job’

“We will push for prosecutions and strong sentences for people who abuse or assault our staff and remain committed to working closely with police and prosecuting authorities to ensure this happens.”