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Doctor ‘curled into ball’ as son of former patient assaulted her in surgery

PUBLISHED: 13:56 19 June 2018 | UPDATED: 20:20 19 June 2018

Victoria Surgery, Bury St Edmunds Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Victoria Surgery, Bury St Edmunds Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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A Suffolk man has admitted assaulting the doctor who treated his late father.

Steven Cook almost broke Dr Victoria Hunter’s jaw during the attack in her office at Victoria Surgery, Bury St Edmunds, on Monday morning.

The 41-year-old told police it was an act of retribution after his father, who was treated by Dr Hunter, died in hospital earlier this month.

Cook, of Devon Close, Bury St Edmunds, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm before Ipswich magistrates on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Richard Murrison said Cook burst into the GP’s office during a consultation with a patient at about 10.10am.

The patient fled the room as Dr Hunter attempted to press a panic button, but was hit four or five times in the face. “She curled into a ball on the floor and screamed for help,” said Mr Murrison.

“She said the assault felt like it lasted two or three minutes before the defendant left the room.”

Colleagues came to the injured doctor’s aid while an ambulance was called.

Her injuries included a displaced front tooth, cuts to her lips, swelling to the face and a suspected jaw fracture. She also suffered grazing to an elbow and bruises on an arm.

“She will require several days off work and has been left feeling scared,” said Mr Murrison.

“The incident arose from some kind of grudge about treatment received by his father.”

Cook told police it was an act of revenge.

Mr Murrison said: “This was someone in the workplace, going about their job.”

Mark Thompson, mitigating, said Cook had noticed an “immediate deterioration” in his father’s health after being prescribed statins for high cholesterol two years ago.

“He was of the belief his father was developing motor neurone disease and tried to persuade the doctor to take his father off statins,” said Mr Thompson.

“It turns out Mr Cook was admitted to hospital two or three weeks ago and died on June 9.

“Mr Cook 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 was remanded in custody to be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on a later date.

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