A DRUNK who told 999 operators he planned to visit a police station and murder officers left paramedics so terrified they locked themselves in their ambulance cab.
Swindon magistrates heard Ashwani Kumar – who in January attracted worldwide scorn for lobbing poppy wreaths around Swindon’s Cenotaph – lashed out at a paramedic and later punched a police custody officer in the arm.
Police and ambulance chiefs have heavily criticised the behaviour, saying they have seen a rise in assaults.
Appearing before the court, 55-year-old Kumar, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting an emergency worker and making a malicious communication.
Prosecuting, Graham Dono said Kumar had peppered 999 call-handlers with abuse in the early hours of Saturday. Kumar, who has previous convictions for making nuisance calls to police, told the emergency workers he had killed someone and needed a constable to arrest him.
His torrent of abuse saw his phone number blocked by the service.
However, it didn’t stop him from calling shortly after 2.30pm and unleash an X-rated verbal barrage on call-handlers.
He then threatened to go round to the police station, claiming: “A police officer is going to die.”
Later that afternoon, paramedics were called to Torun Way, north Swindon, to reports Kumar had collapsed and was complaining of an irregular heartbeat. He became abusive, swearing and shouting at the paramedics before lashing out and striking Thomas Bickle in the arm.
Kumar was told to get out of the ambulance. He complied but returned a short time later and began banging on the vehicle. Mr Dono said: “The paramedics, scared for their personal safety, had locked themselves in the cab of their ambulance.” Police were called to the scene and arrested Kumar.
Taken to Gablecross police station, he lashed out as detention officer Ian Duffin tried to take his fingerprints – punching the officer in the arm.
Defending, Emma Thacker said her client had been so drunk he could not even remember assaulting the officers. Kumar, who has been an alcoholic for 30 years, was said to be sorry for what had happened.
He had been complying with the probation service and regularly attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but after being asked to leave bed-and-breakfast accommodation on Shepard Street he had lost his medication and turned to drink.
“Unfortunately, it seems when he’s left to his own devices that’s when the alcohol creeps back in,” Miss Thacker said.
Magistrates bailed Kumar to be sentenced on September 18. They ordered that a pre-sentence report was compiled.
Kumar was last before the courts in January, when he admitted making nuisance 999 calls.
In January, he admitted throwing 50 poppy wreaths left on Swindon’s Regent Circus war memorial. Chief Constable Kier Pritchard labelled the vandalism an absolute disgrace.
Reacting to the case, Insp Mark Andrews of the Wiltshire Police Federation said: “Emergency services, especially the police, have seen an increase in assaults against them over the past few years this has been highlighted more recently with the vicious machete attack on PC Stuart Outten in London and the murder of PC Andrew Harper in Thames Valley.
“I believe this will only change if our courts give sentences which reflect the impact these attacks have on the community and the people who are trying to serve it.”