Suspended sentence for Chelmsford man who punched ambulance driver taking patient to hospital
A man who forced an ambulance that was taking an elderly patient to hospital to stop before punching the driver in a road rage attack has avoided an immediate jail sentence.
Michael Kearns, himself a former ambulance driver, cut up the vehicle at a roundabout in Chelmsford, Essex, on November 11 2014.
He then forced the ambulance to stop by braking and pulling his Ford Focus in front of it, prosecutor Alex Sutter-Green told Chelmsford Crown Court.
Mr Sutter-Green added: “There was a patient in the back of the vehicle.
“The defendant got out, opened the door and punched the victim.”
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The court heard Kearns, 46, of Broomfield, Chelmsford, struck a glancing blow and his victim was not badly hurt.
A paramedic who was also travelling in the ambulance witnessed the attack.
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Kearns had denied dangerous driving and assault but was found guilty after a trial.
The court heard he had a previous conviction of assault following a similar incident in 2013.
Tom Nicholson Pratt, mitigating, said his client suffered from post-traumatic stress after himself being attacked several times while working as an ambulance driver.
He added: “He only threw one punch which connected – the driver referred to it glancing off his cheek.”
Kearns cares for his sick mother and works as a professional driver transporting organs for transplant, he said.
Judge Patricia Lynch ordered him to serve a nine-month sentence suspended for two years.
She banned him from driving for a year and ordered him to complete unpaid work for the community.
She added: “You have led an otherwise good and industrious life.
“The post-traumatic stress from your previous work helps explain why an otherwise sensible and sane person commits offences such as this.
“It is a very serious matter and it is just not acceptable.”