Glasgow & West Scotland

Paramedic Campbell Fisher admits killing Robert Cunningham in Ayr

A paramedic has admitted knocking down and killing a 70-year-old man at a pedestrian crossing in Ayrshire.

Campbell Fisher was answering a 999 call in Ayr when his ambulance struck Robert Cunningham in the town's Prestwick Road on 19 November 2010.

The pensioner died at the scene after suffering unsurvivable injuries to his limbs and spine.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Fisher admitted causing death by careless driving, Sentence was deferred.

The paramedic was originally charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but the Crown accepted his guilty plea to the reduced charge.

The court heard how Fisher was driving an ambulance service rapid response car at 16:48 on 19 November while answering a 999 call from a man complaining of chest pains in Ayr.

Resuscitation attempt

Moments before the crash, the 999 call was downgraded from top priority to a non-emergency call on Fisher's on-board computer screen.

As the vehicle went through the pedestrian crossing on Prestwick Road, it struck Mr Cunningham, who had mild cerebral palsy, basic learning difficulties and had been diagnosed as having schizophrenia.

Following the collision, Fisher attempted to resuscitate Mr Cunningham, but he died at the scene.

One witness later described how Mr Cunningham had run into the path of the ambulance car as if he had not been aware of its presence, and that the car had not slowed on approach.

The court heard that medical opinion was that a combination of medication and alcohol taken by Mr Cunningham may have resulted in "a decreased appreciation of speed and proximity of traffic".

Police investigators estimated the speed of Fisher's vehicle before braking as being 46mph and stated in a report: "The blame for this collision must lie entirely with the accused."

The court also heard that a car coming in the opposite direction had stopped at the crossing.

Judge Lady Stacey deferred sentence on Fisher, from Dalmellington, until next month for reports and banned him from driving in the interim.

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