Sidmouth man assaulted medic

PUBLISHED: 11:00 21 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:33 18 June 2010

A SIDMOUTH man, who assaulted a paramedic during a psychotic episode, avoided a prison sentence this week. Michael Luke O Donnell, 40, of Lock Close, appeared at Central Devon Magistrates Court on Wednesday for sentencing. At an earlier hearing, O Donnel

A SIDMOUTH man, who assaulted a paramedic during a psychotic episode, avoided a prison sentence this week.

Michael Luke O'Donnell, 40, of Lock Close, appeared at Central Devon Magistrates' Court on Wednesday for sentencing.

At an earlier hearing, O'Donnell pleaded guilty to assault by beating, resisting arrest and possession of cannabis.

The court heard that O'Donnell assaulted a paramedic who came to his aid after he was involved in a car crash on January 3 at Branscombe Cross.

David Burgess, prosecuting, said the paramedic opened O'Donnell's car door to check on his welfare and was then punched in the mouth.

When officers tried to intervene, O'Donnell became increasingly agitated and tried to bite PC Vicki Harper, of Sidmouth Police. He was then restrained by the police and taken into custody.

Jeremy Wickham, defending, said his client suffers from "serious" mental health problems and at the time of the incident he was in a "psychotic episode".

He said: "He believed he was flying a spaceship at the time. When the door was opened he thought it was the door of a spaceship and he was going to die."

Since the incident, magistrates heard O'Donnell was hopsitalised twice and was released only a day before his first appearance in court in January.

O'Donnell's mother, Sheila Tyler, giving evidence to the court said her son was under a lot of "stress" when the incident occurred but his mental state is now much improved.

"Since this last two weeks Michael has really come up on his feet and is really getting back to Michael."

She admitted he needed "intense therapy" but said the mental health services "will put a lot of work into Michael".

Mrs Tyler praised the way O'Donnell has looked after his young daughter in the past and how well liked he is by nursery staff.

Magistrates sentenced O'Donnell to a three month prison sentence for burglary and 14 day sentence for resisting arrest, suspended for a year.

Also imposed on O'Donnell was a 21 day curfew from 8pm until 8am daily and £50 costs.

Chairman of the panel, Catherine Sanders, said: "You punched a member of the emergency services who was coming to your aid whether you realised it or not."

O'Donnell said a one year suspended sentence was a "long time but I deserve it".


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