London - A doctor suffered a suspected broken jaw after the son of a former patient attacked her in a consulting room.
Steve Cook, 41, burst in on Victoria Hunter when she was dealing with a patient on Monday morning.
He hit her four or five times in the face ‘in revenge’ for the death of his father Brian a week earlier. He believed his father’s health had been affected by Dr Hunter’s decision to prescribe statins for high cholesterol.
Statins have been linked to greater risk of motor neurone disease – a condition that 66-year-old Mr Cook Snr was suffering from when he died in hospital, a court was told.
Describing the assault, Richard Murrison, prosecuting, said: ‘Dr Hunter curled into a ball on the floor and screamed for help. She said the assault felt like it lasted two or three minutes before the defendant left.’
Colleagues treated her before an ambulance arrived at the Victoria Surgery in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Dr Hunter was left with damage to her jaw, a loose front tooth, cuts and bruising. Her patient had fled the consulting room.
Armed police arrested Cook, who admitted assault when he appeared before Ipswich magistrates on Tuesday. He told officers the attack was an ‘act of retribution’.
Mark Thompson, defending, said: ‘He was told his father did have motor neurone disease. To him, it seemed all the concerns about statins were supported by the diagnosis.
‘He went to the surgery to speak to staff but admits he just lost it.’
Cook’s mother, Rose, last night said she could not excuse his actions but insisted he had taken his father’s death very badly.
‘He became withdrawn and he said it was cutting him up. One day he was crying his eyes out,’ she added.
‘Father’s Day last Sunday triggered something. I could tell he was bottling it up.
‘He was grieving for his dad big time.’
Jo Shaw, assistant practice manager at Victoria Surgery, which has nine GPs and 11,000 patients, said: ‘Our staff work hard and any assault on them is never acceptable.’
Cook, who is jobless, was remanded in custody for sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court at a later date.