Page last updated at 18:38 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 19:38 UK

'Stupid' driver blocked ambulance

Annika Avery
Avery was laughing as she blocked the ambulance, the court heard

A judge told a driver she displayed "moronic stupidity" by deliberately and repeatedly blocking an ambulance which was carrying a dying patient.

Annika Avery, 20, of Leicester, was given a five-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. She had already admitted dangerous driving.

The court was told that Avery overtook the ambulance at speed and slowed down, causing the vehicle to brake suddenly.

She did this even though the siren was on, Leicester Crown Court heard.

Avery, of Tatlow Road, Glenfield, was said to be under stress at the time of the incident in July 2008, although no other reason was given for her behaviour.

Obscene gestures

In the back of the ambulance a paramedic was giving heart compressions to an elderly patient.

Such was the force of the braking that the paramedic was flung the length of the vehicle, the court heard.

The driver of the ambulance said at one stage Avery pulled alongside him and she was travelling at 60mph (96km/h) in a 40mph (64km/h) area.

People who commit this type of crime must think of the consequences
Nick Arnold from East Midlands Ambulance Service

The paramedic said he looked across and saw Avery and a male passenger laughing and making obscene gestures.

Judge Howard Morrison called Avery's driving "disgusting and dangerous".

The patient in the ambulance died and the judge said if Avery's driving had played any part in that death, she would have been facing a very different sentence.

He added that ambulance crews did a difficult job, telling Avery: "Your moronic and anti-social behaviour is exactly what they cannot tolerate."

Speaking after Friday's sentencing hearing, Nick Arnold from East Midlands Ambulance Service said: "We are deeply disturbed at the actions this woman took.

"She purposely obstructed our ambulance which was clearly dealing with an emergency.

"People who commit this type of crime must think of the consequences - one day because of the mindless actions of someone else they, or their loved one, might not get the urgent medical care they need."



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