I tend to walk the mean streets of London alone and unbothered by the thoughts of being attacked – I know that most violence is committed by people who know each other, and that truly random violence is rarer than most people think.
It was nearly three in the morning, we had all been busy that shift, so Control asked if I could attend an ‘amber’ call because there were no ambulances to send. I’m only supposed to go to the highest priority ‘red’ calls, but to be honest it doesn’t bother me if they send me to a little old lady who has scraped her knee, and this particular job sounded fairly interesting.
It only took me a minute to find the minicab office, it is only 300 yards away from the ambulance station – and it was surrounded by police cars. None of the police looked particularly panicked, so I realised that my patients probably weren’t seriously hurt.
The story I got was this…
At one am, patient One got a phone call to talk to his friend, the manager of the minicab office. Patient One collected his friend, Patient Two (who has only been in the country from Pakistan for a few months) and they both went to the minicab office. At the office, they were met by the manager and four other people. They were then pistol whipped, and a sword was poked into them. They were tied up and robbed of their mobile phones and £400 that one of the men was carrying. Injuries were minor, and it took them a little time to escape and call for help.
I quickly assessed both patients, and although they had been knocked around a bit, all their injuries were fairly minor, and as they were giving their statements to the police the Sergeant turned up.
(At least I think he was a Sergeant, he had some stripes on his shoulders)
He immediately voiced the thoughts that we were all having, that there was something ‘dodgy’ going on. Why would you go to a cab office for a chat at one in the morning? Why would you be carrying £400 at one in the morning to a cab office? Why were my patients being reluctant to give too many details to the police? Why would four people who you know want to torture you?
The Sergeant was polite, but firm with the men, even when they were being evasive with their answers. I was particularly impressed when he told both the men to stop talking to each other in their native language every time he asked them a question. It’s a brave man who does that today, and doesn’t worry about being called racist.
I left the patients with the police – their injuries were such that the police doctor (FME) could deal with them, and I suspect that the police would be happy to have the patients in their presence for a while.
While these people were ‘victims’, it’s likely that the attack wasn’t random in the truest sense of the word, although the use of a pistol and a sword is unfortunately getting more and more common.