Grenfell Tower fire paramedic caught speeding at 116mph


A paramedic who was one of the first at the scene of the Grenfell Tower disaster has avoided a driving ban after being caught speeding at 116mph.

David Hickling, 46, of South Benfleet, Essex, was caught while off duty on the A55 near Caerwys, Flintshire, in July.

The London Ambulance Service suspended him and Hickling said a driving ban would cost him his job.

Flintshire magistrates gave him six points on his driving licence and he must pay £635 in fines and costs.

Hickling was driving to a terrorism-related training course when he was clocked in July, three weeks after the tower fire that killed 71 people.

He admitted breaking the 70mph (110km/h) speed limit but told Flintshire Magistrates' Court at Mold that a driving ban would mean the end of his career of 22 years.

A psychotherapist's report showed the exceptional stress Hickling was under.

He served for five years in the Army and had been in his present role for the past eight years.

Magistrates heard Hickling, the clinical leader for the hazardous area emergency team, was involved in the search and recovery of bodies at the London tower block.

He already had six points on his licence, but magistrates accepted a ban would cause exceptional hardship.

His barrister Phil Williams told the court his client was the bronze commander for the ambulance service and first on the scene at the Grenfell Tower disaster and responded following the Westminster Bridge attack.

Chairman Terry Eastham said: "Society is grateful to such people and the personal cost involved will never be truly known."

Hickling told the court he had been informed by his employers that if he received a ban then "I will no longer be able to carry out my work."

The court heard his work had affected his mental health but he had been determined to remain on duty because of his great sense of responsibility towards his team.

Mr Williams said his client did not seek sympathy or make excuses, but was in a highly pressurised job he carried out with honour.

He said Hickling was "extremely sorry" and embarrassed for the offence and the difficulty he had placed himself and the ambulance service in.

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