Woman’s attack on three care staff

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A woman with multiple disabilities who assaulted three care staff has received a suspended prison sentence.

Emma Fordham, 31, of Lake Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, pleaded guilty to three charges of assault by beating at Bury Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Colette Harper, prosecuting, said that on March 10 Fordham, who is a ‘deaf mute’, called for an ambulance via text message, saying she was feeling unwell with chest pains and vomiting.

When staff arrived, Fordham - assisted by a friend who communicated with her via a webcam - agreed to have bloods taken and an ECG performed.

Mrs Harper said ‘all of a sudden’ Fordham picked up a photo frame and raised it above her head causing staff to ‘flinch’ in fear that it would be thrown at them.

She said, acting on the friend’s advice, staff tried to calm Fordham down by switching on her fairy lights but that she became more angry and aggressive, grabbing a kitchen knife and lunging at a paramedic.

“She turned and lunged towards him with the knife outstretched in her hand and he believed that was an attempt to stab him,” said Mrs Harper.

Fordham then became ‘erratic’ saying she wanted to kill herself and lashed out, hitting a care assistant’s chest and grabbing her by the collar, she added.

Mrs Harper said that, after calming down, Fordham agreed to go to hospital but, while there, she hit a staff nurse on the arm and chased her though A&E. Police were called and she was arrested using a written note.

In mitigation, Claire Lockwood said Fordham also had cerebral palsy and suffered from depression and anxiety.

She said she became frustrated and confused while staff were in her home and grabbed the knife because she was considering harming herself.

“She certainly had no intention of harming anyone else but accepts it would have been frightening to ambulance staff,” she said.

Francesca Lewis, from the Probation Service, told magistrates Fordham had previously been hospitalised under a section and had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and mild learning difficulties.

She assessed Fordham as culpable but not suitable for unpaid work and arranged for specialist accommodation.

Fordham received eight weeks custody suspended for six months and was ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.