Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 17:12 UK

Woman, 50, blocked ambulance crew

Gillian Birdsall
Birdsall haddenied obstructing the ambulance staff

A 50-year-old woman has been fined £500 for blocking an ambulance crew in her Dorset driveway as they treated a patient who later died in hospital.

Gillian Birdsall was putting dogs in her car as paramedics were taking neighbour Malcolm Burdett to hospital, Bournemouth Magistrates' Court heard.

Birdsall was convicted of obstructing the ambulance staff at the shared driveway in Bournemouth last year.

It is not claimed her actions caused 62-year-old Mr Burdett's death.

Birdsall, who had denied the offence, was also ordered to pay £250 costs and a £15 victims' surcharge.

Paramedics were called to Mr Burdett's home at 1245 GMT on 31 October when he began suffering from chest pains, the court heard.

The crew wanted to take him to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital for further treatment.

'Clearly distressed'

Emergency care assistant Anna Marie Mills said she was wearing a full uniform as her colleague carried out procedures on Mr Burdett in the back of the ambulance.

"I asked her [Ms Birdsall] how long she was going to be parked there as being an emergency vehicle we would need to leave shortly," she told the court.

"She just responded saying it was a shared driveway."

Miss Mills said she had to reassure Mr Burdett's wife because "she was clearly distressed as she could see we were being blocked in".

She said when she asked Ms Birdsall to move her car a second time, the 50-year-old replied: "Why, are they dead?" before driving off.

The court heard the ambulance took Mr Burdett to hospital at 1310 GMT, where he died just over an hour later.

Miss Mills said Ms Birdsall delayed them by five to 10 minutes.

Charlie Butterworth, prosecuting, said: "There was no suggestion the defendant's actions were in any way a contributory factor in Mr Burdett's death."

David Hurley, defending, said Miss Mills only said the ambulance needed to leave immediately at the second time of asking, at which point his client moved her car straight away.

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