Monday 18 November 2019

Knifeman at baby hospital had 'scaled the drainpipe'

The frightening incident happened at the Coombe maternity hospital in the early hours of last Thursday morning
The frightening incident happened at the Coombe maternity hospital in the early hours of last Thursday morning
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

An intruder who held a young midwife at knifepoint in a Dublin maternity hospital is believed to have scaled a drainpipe and gained entry through an upstairs window.

The frightening incident happened at the Coombe maternity hospital in the early hours of last Thursday morning.

It is believed the intruder managed to scale a drainpipe and climbed up the side of the old building.

He slipped through an open window and ended up in an office area used by midwives and other staff.

No patients were in the vicinity and the area which was broken into is some distance from the main maternity area.

He ended up in a room which is normally only accessible with a keycode .

The attacker - who was wearing a blue and red Adidas hoody - broke into the maternity hospital in the south inner city area at around 2am.

He grabbed the midwife's bag and when she attempted to wrench it back from him he took out a knife.

He held it to her throat and then fled with her bag.

The shaken midwife managed to quickly raise the alarm as the robber made his getaway.

The hospital has strict security at the entrance to the hospital and this was not breached.

However, an open window on an upper floor was spotted by the intruder who clambered upwards and took the midwife by surprise.

A review of security is now under way, and staff have been instructed to ensure that all window are closed.

A spokesman for the hospital said yesterday that "an investigation is ongoing into an incident that occurred in a building adjacent to the hospital on Thursday morning, September 27".

"As the building does not contain inpatient facilities, mothers and babies were not at risk," he said.

Security is an ongoing issue for all city hospitals, which have to balance the need for patient and visitor access with protection.

The hospitals must make a heavy financial investment in security at a time when budgets are under pressure.

All of the Dublin maternity hospitals are housed in centuries-old buildings which have extensions added on.

The plan is to eventually move the Coombe Hospital to the site of St James's Hospital.

It would then be located near the new national children's hospital, which is to be built in the campus of St James's.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News