HSE paramedic knocked out student nurse, court hears

Alleged incident occurred during a first aid course in Scarriff, Co Clare

Andrew Long at Ennis Court: he has pleaded not guilty to  assault causing harm

Andrew Long at Ennis Court: he has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm

 

A woman has told a court in Co Clare that a HSE paramedic knocked her out when he placed his arm around her neck.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Mary Nihill became visibly upset in the witness box as she recalled how Andrew Long rendered her unconscious during an evening first aid class at the Vocational Education Centre in Scarriff in March 2013.

Ms Nihill, a student nurse, told the court that after the incident: “I was in shock. I thought I was in safe hands with a professional paramedic. He tried to knock me out – he did knock me out.”

Mr Long (35) of Carraig Dubh, Tobertaosceain, Ennis has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Ms Nihill and Elise McMahon in March 2013.

Ms Nihill said she was taking an evening occupational first aid course given by Mr Long.

She said Mr Long called her out to a corridor after the class where he said he wanted to perform a manoeuvre on her.

‘Choking and slipping’

“I got very nervous when he said that he didn’t practice the manoeuvre in his profession,” she said. “He called it ‘Prodrum’ and ‘we don’t practice this’. I thought ‘why would he do that to me?’.

She said he placed his left arm around her neck from behind and applied force with his another arm.

“I was choking and slipping on the chair and telling him to stop. I wanted to go out, but I couldn’t escape,” she said. “At no time did I consent to him putting his hands around my neck.”

Ms Nihill said he again performed the same manoeuvre “after me telling him, ‘no, leave me alone’”.

She said she lost consciousness . “I don’t know how long I was out for, but when I came to, he was sitting in front of me with his two hands on my knees,” she said. “I didn’t know what do and I ran out the door. My legs were like jelly.”

Defence counsel Bernard Madden SC told Ms Nihill his client rejects her account. “He didn’t put his arm around your neck in the way you have said.”

Seven months pregnant

Elise McMahon, who also attended the course the same night, said Mr Long called her out to the corridor after the class and told her he wanted to carry out the Prodrum manoeuvre.

“I was very reluctant as I was seven months pregnant at the time and I was afraid that it might harm me or my baby but very reluctantly, I said ‘yes’ even though I felt uncomfortable doing it,” she said. “He told me I was safe as he was a paramedic.”

Ms McMahon said Mr Long put his arm around her neck from behind. “My airwaves were cut off. I was conscious, but literally I couldn’t talk. It was the weirdest feeling. It scared me.”

The trial continues on Thursday.