Ambulance officer stabbed while defending patient

STABBING: Local SA Ambulance employees leave the Port Augusta courthouse this afternoon, after attending the hearing of a man who stabbed a local ambulance officer in the early hours of this morning.
STABBING: Local SA Ambulance employees leave the Port Augusta courthouse this afternoon, after attending the hearing of a man who stabbed a local ambulance officer in the early hours of this morning.

The Port Augusta ambulance officer stabbed in the leg on Thursday morning was defending a patient from a violent attack, a court has heard.

Police alleged the officer was stabbed after she tried to protect a 49-year-old woman who had been punched in the face by 50-year-old Kalgoorlie man George Walker.  

The accused appeared in the Port Augusta Magistrates Court on Thursday after being charged with assault causing harm and aggravated assault.

He appeared in front of a public gallery of local paramedics and was refused bail.

Police alleged ambulance crews were called to the View Street address at 4.30am this morning after Mr Walker had twisted and fractured the arm of the woman and struck her in the face.

Upon arrival, a female ambulance officer began to treat the woman’s injuries.

Mr Walker allegedly became extremely agitated and again attacked the victim, punching her in the face, while the ambulance officer defended the woman by pushing him away.

He then disappeared for a few moments and returned with a knife.

Fearing Mr Walker’s intentions were to again attack the already injured victim, the officer pushed him away once more, only to fall victim to the attack herself.  

She was stabbed in the leg, however, luckily pens and a notebook in her pocket deflected the knife and it did not penetrate deeply.

The attacker was disarmed and arrested shortly after by Port Augusta police.

Ambulance Employees Association of SA secretary Phil Palmer said if it wasn’t for the officer’s quick thinking, the results could have been far more serious.

“The victim [the officer] was quick thinking and brave and was able to deflect both of the stabs, grab the wrists of the assailant....injury could have been a lot worse,” he said.

“She’s done a really good job, but it’s a horrible experience for her...she’s extremely rattled.”

SA Ambulance Service chief executive officer Robert Morton said this was another disturbing reminder about the violence and aggression their staff can be subjected to when simply doing their jobs in helping the community.

"Our immediate priority is to support our colleague who has been traumatised by this event," he said.

"This matter will now go before the courts and we are strong advocates for appropriate consequences to be enacted to protect our staff." 

In court on Thursday, Magistrate Clive Kitchin refused bail on the basis of Mr Walker’s offending history, the seriousness of the allegations, the strength of the prosecution case and the risk of further offending.

The case will continue on December 9.