Ambulance staff were assaulted while trying to save a dying toddler run over by a car, an inquest in the North heard today.
Roma McAleese, aged three, was knocked down near her home at Ashdale Park, Coleraine, last year. Her inquest was heard in the town today.
When paramedic Heather Moore arrived with a colleague she was punched in the back by somebody who claimed she had not arrived soon enough, she told the inquest.
“She was punching for all she was worth,” she said.
The injured three-year-old was taken into the ambulance but died in hospital.
Coroner John Leckey said: “What happened to you and your colleague (Sharon Robinson) was totally unwarranted, quite disgraceful.
“It is unacceptable that the emergency services seem to be attacked almost routinely. Instead of expressing gratitude for your arrival this physical assault happened.”
The driver of the Volkswagen Golf involved in the March 2009 accident, Nicola Smyth, was left traumatised, the inquest heard. She did not attend the hearing and was never charged with any wrongdoing.
Senior scientific officer Damien Coll said the accident had happened in as little as one and a half seconds.
There was nothing to suggest Ms Smyth was breaking the 30mph speed limit and a postal van may have obstructed her view, the expert added.
The coroner ruled that Roma died at the Causeway Hospital from head, neck and chest injuries sustained when she was knocked down while crossing the road by a car being driven within the speed limit.