“There are people out there that still need us and I still want to be able to help them”

Deena Evans, 40, is a mother of three. She is also a paramedic and clinical team mentor (CTM) with West Midlands Ambulance Service, and has worked for WMAS since 2015.

In July 2020, Deena and her crewmate Michael Hipgrave responded to a category 3 welfare check in Wolverhampton. Whilst trying to gain access to the property with police, Martyn Smith opened his front door and lunged at the paramedics with two large kitchen knives.

Deena was stabbed in the left side of her chest and swiped at the right side. Her colleague Michael stepped in front of Deena and pushed her out of the way to protect her when he too was stabbed. Her injuries resulted in her sustaining a pneumothorax and a 500ml haemothorax and she had surgery that night at a major trauma centre, where she remained for three nights before being discharged.

Deena continues to receive physiotherapy for her movement in her arm as a result of her injuries and still has pain. She was diagnosed with complex PTSD and has since developed OCD and is continuing to receive treatment from a psychotherapist.

The whole incident lasted about 12 seconds, from the moment Deena and Mick entered the property, to Smith being tasered. However, the devastating impact of those 12 seconds will stay with our paramedics forever.

52-year-old Martyn Smith was sentenced on the 7th July 2021 to 9 years imprisonment and given an extended licence period of five years after pleading guilty to two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Deena now wears a body worn camera every single shift and is also currently part of a stab vest trial at WMAS.

Following the sentencing, Deena gave a Victim Impact Statement which she read out in court – an extract of which follows:

Your sentence will not give me back the year I lost, neither will it take away my painful and ugly scar, or the mental stress you caused.

However, hopefully your sentence will be enough to act as a deterrent to others who think it is okay to attack other emergency services, when they have made a choice to simply do a job.

Of the Violence & Aggression / #WorkWithoutFear Campaign, Deena said:

I wanted to be involved in this campaign because of my experiences, the severity of which has never occurred in a UK ambulance service before and I hope it never will again.

I feel so strongly about what happened that I want the public to know it is just not ok to abuse people like us who are there to help others as we are just doing our job. Since the incident, many of my colleagues have been threatened with knives and I feel that it’s getting dangerous to do the job.

Get further resources here on AACE’s Violence and Aggression campaign – and please share them with your colleagues and your wider personal and professional networks.


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