Shropshire Star

'I hope you see my face': Paramedic's message to knifeman who stabbed her 'for doing her job'

"That day, you took all that I am away from me; you took my confidence, my humour, my trusting nature, and my happiness."

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Deena Evans, from Willenhall, said she sees her attacker's face over and over

Those are the words of a paramedic who was stabbed along with her colleague by a man whose home they had arrived at to check on him.

Deena Evans, from Willenhall, and Michael Hipgrave, from Coalbrookdale in Ironbridge, were stabbed by Martyn Smith in Wolverhampton July 6 last year.

Smith was jailed for nine years over the "horrific" incident at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Friday.

At his sentencing hearing Miss Evans, a single parent with three children, explained how she thought she thought she was going to die after the attack and revealed she had to go back to work early in order to make ends meet.

She said: "I trained for three years and have two degrees, all to do my job, to come and help people like you, like on July 6, where as I stepped through your door, I came to help you.

"I said your name, asked if you were OK, and then you jumped out and stabbed me. Not in the arm, or the leg, you stabbed me in my chest, and then you stabbed my colleague while he was trying to protect me. You were so angry, if you hadn’t have stumbled would you have carried on stabbing? Your mom was stood right next to us.

"I lay on the grass bleeding heavily, whilst people tried to help me, I drifted in and out of consciousness, and thought of my family and children, and worried I would never see them again, whilst I lay in your garden dying. I had to be treated by friends, which was not only hard for me, but was hard for them too, I sobbed while they treated me, apologising to them for being in that position."

The 40-year-old received emergency surgery a few hours later after developing complications in hospital and said she has had to rely on others to wash her hair and butter her toast. As someone previously fully independent, Miss Evans said this was "soul destroying".

The paramedic has been in pain "every single day" since the attack due to the chest muscle damage caused and has been left with numbness on her arm which may be permanent.

She added: "I will forever look down and see my scar across my chest, painful and lumpy, a constant reminder of you and what you did. Everyday I take a variety of tablets three times a day to ease the pain, often leaving me in tears."

The attack has also impacted on Miss Evans financially, due to her being a single parent and reliant on money from extra shifts she is no longer able to work. She returned to work earlier than she should have "just to get by".

The 40-year-old said her whole family – including her children aged six, 11 and 12 – were "devastated" and unable to cope. They they were unable to visit due to Covid-19, leaving her to feel "alone and scared, sat on a hospital bed bleeding through my dressings."

Deena Evans was stabbed in the chest by Martyn Smith

She told the court: "My children no longer feel safe, they told me they were worried 'the bad man who hurt mommy would come back,' it keeps them awake at night too, however even though they were children, had to wipe my tears, and stay strong for me, helping me to bath, or tie shoelaces. Imagine how helpless my family felt, and imagine how helpless I felt as a mother.

"The incident has affected me a lot mentally. I see your face, the exact moment you stabbed me, over and over I see the moment you looked me square in the eye, before you lunged at me holding a knife in each hand in the air. I see that image at night when I try to sleep, your there whether I close or open my eyes, that same stare.

"I have flashbacks constantly throughout the day; I can never unsee that image. I don’t feel safe anymore, not even in my own home."

The paramedic said her hair began to fall out due to the stress caused and she had received counselling sessions just to "get a part of me back" – and has suffered depression, alongside anxiety and PTSD and admits she feels "empty," adding: "I feel nothing inside – you have taken all that I am away."

Victims Michael Hipgrave and Deena Evans have both now returned to work

She added: "Still to this day, almost a year later I am having treatment for the physical and mental damage you have caused; do you know how it feels to know you are dying? To know you may never see the people you care about again? To lie on the floor trying to administer life saving treatment to your colleague even though you know you’re dying yourself?

"Everyone in life has a choice, life is made up of choices, everything in life is affected by the choices we make, and that day you made a choice to pick up two large knives that you knew could possibly cause fatal damage, you made a choice to stab me with those knives, and that choice you made took away a year of my life. The effects of it both mentally and physically will stay with me forever, everyday I relive your face, and that knife in my chest. We nearly lost our lives making a choice to come and help you.

"I struggle to see justification for what you did to me, and I hope you see my face and you remember mine, and the anguish you caused, all the medications I take just to feel normal, and the pain I am constantly in.

"Your sentence will not give me back the year I lost, neither will it take away my painful and ugly scar, or the mental stress you caused, however hopefully, your sentence will be enough to act as a deterrent to others, who think it is ok to attack other emergency services, when they have made a choice to simply do a job."

Investigating officer Detective Inspector Jackie Nicholson, from West Midlands Police, said after the case: “The whole incident lasted just 12 seconds – from the moment they entered the house to Smith being tasered – but the impact of such a shocking incident can stay with victims for a long time.

"Every day in their roles as paramedics Deena and Mick are helping people in need and saving lives. I’m glad our officers played a part in saving theirs.

"I wish them both well for the future and in their continued recovery, and hope the sentence handed down to Smith helps them achieve some closure."

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