I came to help and you stabbed me, paramedic tells knifeman in court

A paramedic stabbed by a man she had gone to help told him in court “you took all that I am away from me”, as he was jailed for nine years for the attack.

Martyn Smith, 53, was sent to prison at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Friday, after admitting two charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) said.

Paramedic Deena Evans was stabbed once in the chest, while fellow medic Michael Hipgrave, known as Mick, was knifed in the back trying to shield his colleague during a 12-second attack at a maisonette in Stephens Close, Wolverhampton, on July 6, last year.

In an extract from her victim impact statement, read in court, Ms Evans told Smith: “I came to help you.

“I said your name, asked if you were OK, and then you jumped out and stabbed me. ”

The medics had been called to the property, along with police, to carry out a concern-for-welfare check on Smith, the sole occupant, after the alarm was raised by his mother, who was also present.

Ms Evans described how, as they went in the house, Smith “ran out from around the kitchen door with an 18-inch knife in each hand and just ran at me, and I went backwards”.

Speaking in a video released by WMAS after sentencing, she added: “Mick pushed me out the way, stood in front of me and I felt him lunge forward – obviously where he had been stabbed in the back.”

Martyn Smith
A police body-worn video screengrab showing Martyn Smith with one of the two knives he was brandishing (West Midlands Ambulance Service/PA)

She described feeling blood pouring from the stab wound in her chest, and collapsing in Smith’s garden, holding on to a female police officer and pleading with her “please don’t let me die”.

Graphic images of the wounds were released, along with stills from police body-worn video footage, showing Ms Evans lying on the grass, with an injured Mr Hipgrave.

Ms Evans, 40, a clinical team mentor from Willenhall, said: “I remember taking a step back and thinking ‘my uniform is really wet – really wet and sticky’.

“So I started to check under my shirt and I saw the wound and it was just pouring out, so I put my hand on my chest to try and stem it and I shouted ‘I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been stabbed’.

She added: “I ran into the garden, that’s where I collapsed, and the female officer was with me, and I said to her ‘please don’t let me die, please don’t let me die – I’ve got three children’.

Mick Hipgrave and Deena Evans
Mick Hipgrave and Deena Evans (West Midlands Ambulance Service/PA)

“I was gripping on to her uniform and she kept saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry – you’re not going to die, I won’t let you die’.”

Ms Evans was taken to hospital and spent three days receiving treatment, including emergency surgery following complications with the wound.

Mr Hipgrave, 52, of Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, was discharged from hospital later the same evening, after treatment for a wound to his back.

In her statement read in court Ms Evans, who described herself as a single parent and mother-of-three, said: “I trained for three years and have two degrees, all to do my job, to come and help people like you, like on July 6 where, as I stepped through your door, I came to help you.

“I said your name, asked if you were OK, and then you jumped out and stabbed me.

The scene of the incident
The scene of the incident (Richard Vernalls/PA)

“Not in the arm, or the leg, you stabbed me in my chest, and then you stabbed my colleague while he was trying to protect me.

She described losing her independence in the weeks after the attack as “soul-destroying”.

Ms Evans, who has returned to work, said chest muscle damage had left her in pain “every single day” often leaving her “in tears”, while “numbness” in her arm “may be permanent”.

She added: “I will forever look down and see my scar across my chest, painful and lumpy, a constant reminder of you and what you did.”

Ms Evans described how her elderly parents and sisters had to tell her children, aged six, 11 and 12, what had happened and “how helpless” she felt as a mother.

She added: “That day, you took all that I am away from me – you took my confidence, my humour, my trusting nature and my happiness.”

Smith, of Stephens Close, was also given an extended licence period of five years, the crown court confirmed.

Meanwhile, WMAS said money from NHS England had been used to buy 1,288 body-worn cameras to help prosecute those who abuse and assault frontline staff.

Later this year, 22 ambulance crew members will volunteer to trial body armour.

WMAS said that in the past year, there had been 1,162 physical attacks recorded against staff.

Physical assaults on WMAS staff have risen by more than 60% in the past five years, while verbal assaults have more than doubled.

Speaking after the hearing, WMAS chief executive Anthony Marsh said: “For two paramedics to be stabbed so horrifically whilst simply trying to help a patient is sickening.

“I hope today’s sentence acts as a deterrent and sends a strong message that attacks on emergency service workers will not be tolerated.”