Nurse slashed with Stanley knife at GP surgery needed 11 stitches, court hears



A Felixstowe man who slashed a nurse’s hand with a knife at a doctors’ surgery causing a deep cut which needed 11 stitches has been jailed for two years.

Fifty-two-year-old Ryan Brakes was sentenced on the same day as health secretary Matt Hancock announced that the NHS would adopt a zero tolerance approach to violence against its staff after it emerged that one in eight had experienced violence in the last year.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Brakes went to the Howard House surgery in Orwell Road, Felixstowe on August 23 because he was upset that his benefit payments had been reduced and blamed the surgery.

He demanded to talk to a doctor and was aggressive to reception staff, who pressed a panic alarm when he began cutting himself with a Stanley knife, said Juliet Donovan, prosecuting.

A mental health nurse tried to calm Brakes down and sat next to him in the waiting room where other patients were waiting.

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The nurse tried to stop him self-harming but he pushed her hand away with the knife causing a deep cut to the palm of her right hand which required 11 stitches and resulted in her being off work for three weeks.

Police officers arrived and arrested Brakes who said he had mental health problems and memory issues caused by a brain operation when he was younger.

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He said he could not remember cutting himself and said he had not gone to the surgery to hurt anyone else.

Brakes, of Charles Road, Felixstowe, admitted having a knife in a public place and assaulting the nurse, causing her actual bodily harm.

Jailing him for two years, Judge Rupert Overbury said Brakes had wrongly assumed that the doctors’ surgery was to blame for the reduction in his benefit payments.

He said Brakes had been “thoroughly unpleasant” to reception staff and had caused a nasty wound to the nurse’s hand when she tried to help him.

“Anyone who assaults a member of the emergency services or anyone in the public sector providing a service to the public cannot expect any sympathy or leniency from the courts,” said the judge.

Neil Saunders, for Brakes, said his client had taken the knife to the surgery to harm himself and hadn’t intended to use it to harm anyone else.

He said Brakes had no previous convictions.

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