Ambulance driver admits fake driving licence
PUBLISHED: 11:20 24 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:26 24 March 2015
An ambulance driver based in Exmouth has admitted driving on a forged licence. Eion Crowley, who was sacked from his job by managers, was given a two-year conditional discharge at Exeter Crown Court.
An ambulance paramedic based at Exmouth who drove patients around Devon for four years on a forged Irish driving licence was sacked when managers found out about his fiddle.
Exeter Crown Court heard how Eion Crowley paid a forger in Ireland to upgrade his normal licence to allow him to drive an ambulance - which he used to get a job with the South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS).
Crowley escaped punishment after a Judge was told the defendant had passed an internal ambulance service test and there had not been a single complaint about his driving, or medical care, during his four years working at for SWAS.
The court heard how Crowley spent four years treating and transporting patients as a paramedic and ambulance driver in Exmouth before SWAS managers asked him to convert his Irish licence into a UK one.
The defendant sent the forged document to the DVLA at Swansea, where it was found to be bogus, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Crowley, aged 41, of Doyle Street, Waterford, admitted possessing a false identity document and using it to try to obtain a UK driving licence. He was conditionally discharged for two years by Recorder Mr Stephen Parish.
The defendant appeared by video link from a courtroom in Cork, and his solicitor, Miss Vanessa Francis, was allowed to enter guilty pleas on his behalf.
Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said Crowley produced the forged licence when he was first employed as an ambulance driver and sent it to the DVLA in 2012 when the Trust asked him to obtain valid UK documents.
Mr Bowen said: “The aggravating feature of this case is the nature of his employment as an ambulance driver where he was responsible for preserving life, the four year duration of that employment, and his attempts to obfuscate when he was applying for a UK licence.
“The mitigating features are that he took a driving test for the ambulance trust in which he was deemed to be competent and there was not a single complaint about his driving in four years.”
Miss Francis said Crowley had a valid Irish licence for driving cars and had naively believed it could be adapted to include ambulances if he paid a fee to someone in Ireland.
She said: “He did not ask questions and was naïve. This was a job which he felt he was meant to do and had always wanted to do.”
Miss Frances told the court Crowley had returned to Ireland to look after his seriously ill father and had suffered a severe shock when he was arrested over the allegations.
She said: “He was flying home from the USA when he was taken off the plane by eight armed police and held for seven nights. It has led to PTSD and since his incarceration he has been unable to work full time.”
The Recorder told Crowley: “This is a wholly exceptional case where you used a false driving licence to obtain employment which you could have obtained anyway if you had bothered to apply for the correct licence.
“You drove perfectly properly for four years without any sort of complaint.
“You are now in poor health and unfit to come to this country, so it seems appropriate to impose a conditional discharge.”
The court heard Crowley had an impeccable record while working as an ambulance driver, during which he was commended for his courage after being attacked by a drunken patient outside an Exmouth night club three days after Christmas 2008.
He was suspended from work and returned to Ireland but was arrested when he flew home from a trip to the United States via Britain and his name flashed up on a watch list of suspects.
Crowley was taken off the plane by eight armed police and held in custody for seven days before family in Ireland raised a surety to get him bail.
He is now being treated for post traumatic stress disorder which he blames on his arrest and has developed a phobia of travelling, the court was told.
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