Paramedic sought vulnerable women to rape says police chief who hunted him down
- Credit: Cambs Police
A police chief believes a former paramedic convicted of rape only joined the ambulance service to access “potentially vulnerable members of the public”.
Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Brunning described Andrew Wheeler as a “predatory individual whose offending has spanned nearly a decade”.
He said his Cambridgeshire police colleagues share his believe that Wheeler’s decisions to become a paramedic was influenced by an inner desire to take advantage of vulnerable people.
“This breach of trust makes his appalling offences all the more deplorable,” he said.
Det Supt Brunning was speaking after Wheeler was found guilty of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault against three victims.
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Wheeler, 46, of Mill Green, Warboys, was convicted of six sexual offences between 2009 and 2018 following a trial which began early in December.
The police chief said: “Wheeler has caused a huge amount of suffering and trauma for his victims.
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“I would like to pay tribute to their bravery in coming forwards and the patience and dignity they have shown throughout a lengthy legal process.
“I can't imagine what they have gone through but I hope the result allows them to continue rebuilding their lives knowing that justice has been done”.
He hoped the verdicts would encourage others to come forward who have been victim of sexual assaults “no matter how long ago it may have happened”.
“It is feasible that over the significant span of time in which Wheeler was offending, there may be other victims who have not come forward,” he said.
“I would urge them, or anyone else who has concerns relating to him, to contact police on 101.”
The jury at Peterborough Crown Court deliberated for three days before finding Wheeler guilty of raping a patient in her own home and of sexually assaulting another female patient in the back of his ambulance.
Wheeler was on duty in a rapid response car when he was called to help a woman who had collapsed at her friend's house in 2018.
He drove the woman, who was drunk, to her own house where he raped and sexually assaulted her.
The jury also convicted Wheeler of raping a second woman in 2009 on an occasion when she was not a patient, and of sexually assaulting her in the back of his ambulance when she was a patient in 2010.
Noel Casey, prosecuting, earlier told the trial that Wheeler had been "abusing the trust that an NHS uniform brings with it".
Mr Casey said that Wheeler was working as a single-crew paramedic when he was called to the incident involving the drunk woman.
Wheeler reassured two other paramedics who arrived as a dual-crew that he had things under control and would stay to finish up paperwork, Mr Casey said.
The paramedic then drove the woman to her house where he raped and sexually assaulted her.
As Wheeler left the woman's home "he said something about losing his job and nobody would believe her as she was an alcoholic", Mr Casey said.
The woman reported the incident to police and he was arrested later that day.
The woman who was sexually assaulted in the back of an ambulance had dialled 999 as she was experiencing breathing difficulties, Mr Casey said.
"He took the opportunity to touch her breasts and while administering adrenalin he said 'that's not the first time I've had to jab you with something'," he told the trial.
Mr Casey earlier told jurors that the woman was a patient who "was struggling to breath in the back of an ambulance".
"He was there as a clinician wearing an NHS uniform," he said.
Wheeler had denied 18 sexual offences against four women and one girl.
Wheeler was cleared of causing sexual activity without consent in respect of a third woman patient.
He was also cleared of six counts of rape against a woman who was not a patient.
The jury was discharged on Monday, having failed to reach verdicts in respect of five counts of rape against the woman who was not a patient.
Judge Matthew Lowe remanded Wheeler in custody until sentencing on February 12.