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Drunk man stole defibrillator from paramedics sent to help him

Kevin McGuigan damaged the £21,500 piece of equipment on the Nethergate in Dundee.

Nethergate: Ambulance had been called to help McGuigan.
Nethergate: Ambulance had been called to help McGuigan. © 2016 Google

A man stole an ambulance crew's defibrillator after they were sent to his aid then broke the £21,500 piece of life-saving equipment.

Kevin McGuigan took the device, used to shock patients' hearts back into rhythm - from a crew who had been sent to help him on the Nethergate in Dundee.

Paramedics had been sent to reports of an "unconscious, unresponsive" male lying on the ground but instead found McGuigan, who began acting aggressively towards them.

They approached police to deal with him as they had been called out to an emergency in St Andrews, Fife, 15 miles away.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court on Thursday: "As they approached the police the defibrillator was left on the ground beside the accused.

"He then took the device and made off from the police and ambulance, which drove away leaving the device on the ground.

"He was found shortly after trying to hide it. The ambulance had to leave and attend an emergency in St Andrews."

She added: "The defibrillator could have been vital. As a result, a response paramedic unit was dispatched to pick up the defibrillator and take it to the crew.

"It turned out part of the equipment had been broken when it was dragged across the ground by the accused.

"The defibrillator was worth £21,500 and the cost of the damage was £500."

McGuigan, 36, of Fowler Terrace, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty on indictment to one charge of theft committed on October 16, 2015, and another of failing to appear in court on July 19, 2016.

Solicitor advocate Krista Johnston, defending, said: "Fortunately for the paramedics the next job didn't actually require the use of the defibrillator.

"Why did he do this? He was extremely drunk. He woke up, picked this item off the ground and wandered off."

Sheriff Alastair Brown jailed McGuigan for ten months.

He said: "What has to be clear is that this set of circumstances took place because of your behaviour.

"The theft of medical equipment, especially emergency medical equipment, is always serious - especially when in the course of stealing it you damage it. The stark fact is you put other peoples' lives at risk in several ways.

"In other circumstances you could have expected to spent the next several years in prison. I'm limiting this sentence because it was drunken stupidity."

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