Paramedic's reign of terror ends with 21 year jail term
- Credit: Terry Harris
A paramedic who was found guilty of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault against three victims has been jailed for 21 years.
Andrew Wheeler, 46, of Mill Green, Warboys, was convicted of six sexual offences between 2009 and 2018 following a trial which began early in December.
Today at Peterborough Crown Court, Judge Matthew Lowe said that Wheeler had shown an "arrogance and a belief that he was untouchable and protected, as he saw it, by his paramedic's uniform"
Wheeler had shown "not a shred of remorse", he said, adding: "He's demonstrated that he's a manipulative sexual predator, willing to exploit for his own gratification the vulnerabilities of three separate (victims)."
Judge Lowe also praised a "painstaking" police investigation which brought Wheeler to court and commended DC Amie Meston.
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He also praised the courage of the victims for coming forward.
The trial had heard Wheeler's offending came to light after he raped and sexually assaulted a woman in September 2018.
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He had responded as a single-crew paramedic to an emergency call to help the woman and reassured two other paramedics, who arrived as a dual-crew, that he had things under control.
He then took the intoxicated woman from a friend's home back to her home before carrying out the attack. The woman told a friend, the incident was reported to police and Wheeler was arrested later that day.
For this rape he received a 13-year sentence and for the sexual assault he received 10 years, to run concurrently to each other but consecutive to the others.
Another victim then came forward who Wheeler had raped in 2009 and sexually assaulted in the back of an ambulance in April 2010.
For this rape he was sentenced to six years and for the sexual assault he was sentenced to 30 months, to run concurrently to each other but consecutive to the others.
Wheeler was also convicted of two counts of sexual assault on a girl under 13, not connected to his work, between December 2013 and May 2014.
He was sentenced to 15 months and two years for these offences, to run concurrently to each other but consecutive to the others.
DCI Sherrie Nash, from the force’s Protecting Vulnerable People department, said due to the length of time Wheeler had been offending it was possible further victims had not yet come forward.
Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Brunning said: "Andrew Wheeler is a predatory individual whose offending has spanned nearly a decade.
“We believe his decision to become a paramedic was influenced by the access it would give him to potentially vulnerable members of the public and this breach of trust makes his appalling offences all the more deplorable.
"He has caused a huge amount of suffering and trauma for his victims and 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 today’s sentencing allows them to continue rebuilding their lives knowing that justice has been done.”
One example of his offending came from the trial when the court heard that the defendant was on duty as a single crew paramedic in a rapid response car when he was called to help a collapsed woman in Cambridgeshire in 2018.
When he arrived at the incident it became apparent that the woman, who was at her friend's house, was drunk, Peterborough Crown Court heard.
Wheeler sent away two other paramedics who arrived together in an ambulance, assuring them he had things under control, then drove the woman to her own house where he raped and sexually assaulted her.
Noel Casey, prosecuting, said the woman was "extremely intoxicated" and was "unable to properly respond or even resist what he did to her, and he did these things while she was alone in her own home, the defendant having taken her there".
"There was a gross breach of trust," he said.
The woman said, in a victim impact statement read to the court: "I have no faith in the NHS and I've avoided seeing a paramedic and attending the hospital just because of what happened."
She said she has flashbacks, adding: "I couldn't handle dealing with life. I became a recluse."
Jennifer Dempster QC, mitigating, said Wheeler had no previous convictions and was someone who has done a "great deal of positive work in his life".