Drunk man avoids prison after biting paramedic

editorial image

A drunk night club reveller who had bitten the arm of a paramedic trying to treat him for a head injury in an ambulance near Portrush and who had been sentenced to four months has avoided jail after lodging an appeal.

Gary Boyd (31), of Ballyfore Gardens, Newtownabbey, also punched the ambulance worker on the back of the head after the emergency services were called out to help the defendant who had fallen and sustained a gash to his head.

Boyd had got out of a car taking him home from a night out at Kelly’s nightclub in Portrush when he took a tumble before turning nasty towards a paramedic.

Imposing the four months sentence and compensation of £300 for the paramedic at a sitting of Coleraine Magistrates Court in January, District Judge Liam McNally it had been well documented that people who attack health staff faced being imprisoned.

Boyd appealed the sentence and at the County Court in Coleraine on Monday his four months jail term was suspended for two years.

A prosecutor previously told Coleraine Magistrates Court that at 3:45am on July 3 last year police were called by an ambulance crew who were dealing with an aggressive patient.

The ambulance had been tasked to Ballybogey Road near Portrush where Boyd was verbally abusive to the paramedic and would not sit still and attempted to climb into the front of the ambulance, knocking over equipment. He was taken to Coleraine’s Causeway Hospital.

The paramedic told police that as he was attempting to treat Boyd, the defendant grabbed him by the arm and twisted it up behind his back before biting him on the arm and punching him on the head.

The ambulance man had to seek medical treatment.

Previously in the Magistrates Court, Boyd admitted charges of assaulting the ambulance worker and being disorderly.

Defence barrister Ben Thompson told the Magistratres Court in January that Boyd had been out at Kelly’s and as he travelled home in a car with a friend the vehicle had pulled over to the side of the road and whilst outside he defendant was so intoxicated he fell and “split his head open”.

Mr Thompson said Boyd was “so stocious” he was incapable of distinguishing that the ambulance staff were trying to help him.

The lawyer said his client knew it was a “despicable” assault and he was “absolutely ashamed”.

Mr Thompson said thankfully the paramedic did not sustain serious injuries.

He said the offences happened when Boyd was in breach of a jail release licence after he was given a five year sentence and had to serve half in prison.

In 2012, Boyd was caged for wounding his ex-girlfriend and her former partner when he was drunk and drugged up on prescription drugs. He had gone to a Belfast flat armed with two six-inch kitchen knives. Boyd and the woman had parted on bad terms the previous week, Belfast Crown Court was told.

Last month, Judge McNally said Boyd was “no stranger to violence” given his record and that after grabbing and twisting the paramedic’s arm he then “sunk your teeth into his arm and left a mark” before punching him on the back of the head.

At the time of the incident last year, a Northern Ireland Ambulance Service spokesman said: “This is the latest in a series of attacks on ambulance staff and the Trust again calls for strongest possible action to be taken against anyone found guilty of assaulting ambulance crews.”