Theft of defibrillator is blamed for Whittlesey man’s death

Deborah Slator

Deborah Slator - Credit: Archant

A death at a Whittlesey fishing lake at the weekend is being partially blamed on the theft of a defibrillator in the town.

Charity trustee Alan Sharkey with the empty defibrillator box. Picture: STEVE WILLIAMS

Charity trustee Alan Sharkey with the empty defibrillator box. Picture: STEVE WILLIAMS - Credit: Archant

Deborah Slator, founder of Whittlesey’s Defibrillators for All charity, said the death of man at the Decoy Lakes on Friday was “our worst nightmare become a reality.”

Mrs Slator, who two weeks ago warned the theft of a community defibrillator from outside her home in Drybread Road could cause a death, said: “A gentleman collapsed while fishing at Decoy Lakes, initially it looked as though luck was on his side as a man trained in first aid and defibrillator aware was on scene, as soon as the man stopped breathing the other man started CPR, as another first aider took over he rushed to get a defib (hoping we might have one in the house he called me on the way, unfortunately I was out). He then went to the next nearest one at Eastrea Hall. By the time he got back to Decoy the ambulance had arrived, but it turned out to be too late for the gentleman.

“Well done to the man who tried to help, you did exactly the right things. Our kind thoughts are with the family, the person who stole the defib however has caused all sorts distress today I hope they feel good in themselves.”

The death has prompted an outpouring of anger from residents at the heartless theft, which occurred overnight on Monday May 18.

Whittlesey Defibrillators for All has raised more than £25,000 to provide 19 defibs at shops and outside houses across the town. But the theft left a gap in the life-saving coverage and the community believes it has cost a person their life.