Ipswich: Hammer attack paramedic feared she would die

 Patricia Gosling

Patricia Gosling - Credit: Contributed

An Ipswich paramedic said she has been left traumatised after fearing she would be killed during a schizophrenic patient’s claw hammer attack.

The scar showing the damage to Emma Cornford's right hand

The scar showing the damage to Emma Cornford's right hand

Emma Cornford said the incident has had a life-changing effect on her and she still does not know whether she will ever be fit to return to work after 10 years as a paramedic. The 37-year-old sustained severed nerves and muscles in her right hand while protecting her head during Patricia Gosling’s attack.

Miss Cornford was only able to escape from Gosling’s flat in Roundwood Road, Ipswich, when the 55-year-old tried to disengage the claw hammer which was impaled in the paramedic’s hand.

Miss Cornford said: “She pulled the hammer back and my hand went with it and then it just came loose.

“I thought she was going to kill me to be honest. I was petrified and just needed to get out as quickly as possible.


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“I just ran for the front door. As I got to the door she hit me again on the back.”

The attack stopped as the housing warden for the complex where Gosling lives arrived at her ground floor flat.

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The lone paramedic got back to her ambulance and summoned help by pressing the emergency button.

She said: “I was still very, very scared. I was in a lot of pain and in disbelief at what had happened.

“I just had to lay myself down because I thought I was going to pass out. I was incredibly traumatised.”

While police were called and Gosling was arrested, Miss Cornford was taken to Ipswich Hospital.

She subsequently had to undergo surgery on her hand at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

However, six months on she still has no feeling in her index finger and her hand does not have full movement or grip.

Miss Cornford also has problems with her circulation and is still in pain.

She has therapy twice a week to aid her recovery, although no one can tell whether she will ever regain the full use of her hand.

“I am very uncertain about my future.

“It’s affected me hugely. It’s not just the physical side of things. This has affected me psychologically. I have very bad problems sleeping and have lots of bad dreams.

“I just feel very anxious about a lot of things I would never have felt anxious about before.

“It’s been life-changing and had a huge impact on my life and that of my family’s life.”

Miss Cornford added that she would like to thank all her friends, family, the ambulance service, and Ipswich Hospital’s hand therapy staff for all their help and support.

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