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'Wild' knifeman who stabbed two paramedics at his home jailed for nine years

A man who stabbed two paramedics with a knife in each hand when they arrived at his home to check on him has been locked up for nine years.

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Martyn Smith. Photo: West Midlands Police

Martyn Smith attacked ambulance workers Michael Hipgrave and Deena Evans with two large kitchen knives after they entered his home in Wolverhampton on July 6 last year.

The 53-year-old stabbed Miss Evans in the left side of her chest before knifing Mr Hipgrave in his lower back after he moved to protect his colleague.

The paramedics had arrived with police and Smith's mother at his maisonette in Stephens Close, Ashmore Park, after his mother called 999 concerned that he wasn't responding to her calls or knocks on the door.

When nobody answered, the emergency workers removed a panel from the door to get in at 12.35pm - believing that something might have happened to Smith.

But when they stepped inside, he jumped forward from behind the door and attacked, leaving the paramedics believing they were going to die.

"Wild" Smith was tasered by the police officer but not before both medics were left seriously injured, prosecution barrister Simon Burch told the sentencing hearing on Friday.

Mr Hipgrave, who has worked for West Midlands Ambulance Service for 21 years and is from Coalbrookdale in Ironbridge, suffered a stab wound to his lower chest wall. Miss Evans, who is from Willenhall and has worked for the ambulance service since 2015, had a nerve severed after the knife penetrated a chest muscle. Both medics' bravery and courage were praised by the judge, who said he would be nominating them for an award.

Miss Evans, 40, told Wolverhampton Crown Court how she thought of her family and children as she lay on the grass outside of the building bleeding.

Reading out her victim impact statement, she said the scar on her chest served as a "constant reminder" of Smith's violence and revealed she takes a variety of tablets three times a day to ease the pain.

The paramedic, who has since returned to work, said her children no longer felt safe, were kept awake at night and worried "the bad man who hurt mommy would come back".

The moment Smith lunged at paramedics with knives

Miss Evans said she is haunted by the image of the look Smith gave her before he stabbed her and hoped the sentence will be enough to "act as a deterrent" to others.

Mr Hipgrave, who was also left scarred and has returned to work but not frontline duties, still suffers nightmares and flashbacks.

Mr Glenn Cook, defending Smith, said he had been instructed to convey a "sincere apology to the victims, their families and the wider paramedic community" and said Smith had shown "sincere remorse.

When told about what happened in an interview with police, Smith was "shook" and said: "Oh my God, what have I done? Are they OK?".

The stabbing happened on Monday, and two days before Smith had been out with friends as pubs reopened when the Covid-19 rules eased.

Michael Hipgrave and Deena Evans were both attacked by Martyn Smith

When he returned home on Sunday he lay down on the sofa and "didn't move" for the rest of the day, ignoring a call from his mother while nursing a hangover.

Smith's concerned mother visited his home on Sunday and when she still got no answer on another visit on Monday she called the emergency services.

When police and paramedics arrived, Smith was listening to hard house music which prevented him from hearing people bang on his door and windows and had gone to the kitchen to make himself a coffee and a toastie, Mr Cook said.

Smith noticed light coming through the doorway, which is usually covered to stop people looking in, and feared there were "intruders" trying to get in.

Already holding a knife to make the toastie, he then picked up a second blade and headed towards the door. It was then that the stabbing took place.

Deena Evans, from Willenhall, now takes medication to help ease the pain

Mr Cook said Smith had a mental disorder, a depressive disorder which he suffered from regularly since 2004, with symptoms including anxiety and paranoia which had been "heightened" on the day of the attack.

After initially denying the attack, Smith, of Stephens Close in Ashmore Park, pleaded guilty to two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on April 19.

Jailing Smith for nine years, Judge Michael Chambers QC said: "Both offences amount to a horrific attack on two paramedics who were trying to enter a house in order to assist you.

"It goes without saying that paramedics play a vital and serious role in the welfare of this country. Their work is difficult and challenging. Whereas it's right to say at the time your levels of anxiety and paranoia were heightened due to your mental illness, it's not a case of severe mental illness and that does not absolve you of any criminal responsibility of what occurred.

"Ultimately, it's a matter of choice. Whereas it's accepted by the crown initially you thought they were intruders, when it came to the point of stabbing you must have known they were paramedics."

Smith will be subject to an extended licence period of five years upon his release - the maximum possible due to his danger to the public.

The judge also said he would be recommending Michael Hipgrave and Deena Evans to receive a High Sheriff's Award to honour their "exemplary manner".

Judge Chambers QC said: "It would be remiss of me to rise without publicly recording the bravery and courage of those two [paramedics] going beyond their duty in behaving in an exemplary manner in the most challenging of circumstances. I leave this case by saying you are a credit to the West Midlands Ambulance Service."