In the Media

Paramedic concealed murder conviction for 17 years

PUBLISHED September 7, 2012

Robert King, 48, was part of a gang of teenagers who battered 42-year-old Robin Warren to death in 1981.

His murder trial heard King, then aged 16, went out looking to beat up a homosexual before the attack on Mr Warren in a public toilet in Maidenhead.

King was jailed for murder on January 29, 1981, and on his release went to work for the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Promoted to operations manager in 2007, King's criminal past only emerged in 2011, after 17 years with the service, when he drunkenly crashed an ambulance car into a shop window.

A Health and Care Professions Council hearing was told no checks on his criminal background were made by the trust, despite a series of forms being submitted by King hiding his convictions.

'The question on the form is very clear, it is a yes or no question - have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence?', said Elizabeth Taheri, for the HCPC.

'Mr King has ticked the 'no' box.'

King first applied to what was the then-Two Shires Ambulance Service as a trainee in 1994, rising through the ranks to operation manager before he resigned in 2011.

Ms Taheri said he submitted a series of forms to both the professional regulator and his bosses which concealed his past convictions.

'This type of conviction is not the type of conviction that is something you would forget', she said.

'The registrant had everything to gain by keeping the murder conviction a secret.

'It is quite apparent from the pattern of documents that the registrant intentionally and dishonestly set out to conceal the 1981 convictions.

'He must have known from the nature of the application forms that he was of course required to disclose the convictions.'

Mr Warren was struck with a bottle and battered with planks of wood, staggering 100 yards before collapsing and dying.

The bottle had cut into his neck, causing a fatal wound.

King, and 18-year-old Christopher Jones, then of Portlock Road, Maidenhead, were locked up for murder.

Accomplices Christopher Turner, 17, of Boyne Valley Road, and Anthony McQuilkin, 16, of Priors Way, were convicted of manslaughter.

King's criminal past only came to light when he ploughed an ambulance fast response car into a Stella Mannnering interior design shop in Oxford while three-times over the drink drive limit.

Richard Curtis, a fellow paramedic, was called to the scene in Woodstock Road, in the St Giles area of Oxford, just after midnight on December 1, 2010.

'The Volvo had mounted the curb, hit a metal safety barrier, and driven into the front of the shop', he said.

'The driver door was open and the driver had left the scene.

'Police arrested the driver around the corner in Banbury Road.'

King was found slurring his words and resisting treatment to cuts and bruised suffered in the crash.

When charged with drink driving, he tried to claim he had not been drinking and put the level of alcohol found in his blood down to a faulty test.

He was banned from driving for 28 months and given a four-month curfew at Oxford Magistrates Court on April 24 this year after being found guilty.

A routine criminal record history sent to the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust following his drink driving sentencing revealed the murder conviction on his record.

When interview in February 2011, King refused to discuss the matter and demanded to know how the information had come to light.

'Mr King said he was not prepared to discuss this and said where did you get the information from', said Ms Taheri.

'Mr King stated it was not as simple as that, it has nothing to do with them or his work.

'He said he needed to speak to someone else first and he needed some time to go and speak to his wife.'

King, who had served with the air ambulance team and as a paramedic assistant manager during his 17 year career, resigned from the service on February 9, 2011.

A disciplinary hearing found he would have been sacked had he not quit.

The hearing today is considering whether he is guilty of misconduct and if his fitness to practice as a paramedic remains impaired.

King, of Merton Road, Ambrosden, Oxfordshire has entered no formal admissions to the convictions, or hiding them from the regulators and his bosses.

A final decision is expected to be delivered by the three-man panel later today.