Royal Mail probes postman who left vulnerable widow, 72, lying in the snow after she fell
The Royal Mail is investigating a postman who told a 72-year-old widow he was ‘too knackered’ to help her as she lay incapacitated with a head injury in the snow outside her frontdoor – but a hero Hermes driver luckily arrived to rescue her.
Zimmer frame-using Patricia Stewart, who suffers from osteoporosis, slipped and banged her head on Wednesday as she bent over to pick up two parcels on the doorstep of her home in Bainsford, near Falkirk.
She was unable to get up without help and was forced to lie in the snow in temperatures below freezing during the coldest February in Scotland since 1955.
But just when Mrs Stewart thought help was at hand, the postman who turned up at her door refused to lift her from the snow and even told her to put her slippers on before trudging off.
Shocking video captured on a neighbour’s Ring doorbell and posted to Facebook by Patricia’s niece Sheryl Harkins shows the postman saying: ‘I can’t help you pal. I’m knackered. Absolutely knackered.’
Patricia was left crying and feeling ‘worthless’ before she was rescued by heroic Hermes driver Karolina Domska 20 minutes later. The 22-year-old courier helped her to her feet, got her inside her home and called for help.
Mrs Stewart, a former social care manager who lives on her own after the death of her husband a decade ago, has used a zimmer frame since she fell over twice in December.
Treatment for her condition, including scans and operations, has been delayed due to the coronavirus lockdowns. It is understood that she fell over after feeling a dizzy, a day after she received a coronavirus vaccine.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Patricia said: ‘I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m a nice person. I couldn’t believe that he walked away and left me and didn’t seek anybody’s help. I’m still in shock.’
Her niece Sheryl, 36, accused the Royal Mail postman, who has not yet been identified, of leaving the pensioner ‘to die’ in the snow.
The Royal Mail apologised to Patricia and her family, and revealed that they are probing the shocking incident. According to the Sun, the postman has been dropped from the round.
Scotland is experiencing its coldest February since 1955, with Edinburgh recording -13C and Kinbrace a Baltic -21.2C last night.
Patricia Stewart, who suffers from osteoporosis, slipped and banged her head as she bent over to pick up two parcels left on the doorstep of her home in Bainsford, near Falkirk
But when the pensioner pleaded with her Royal Mail postman for help, he refused because he was too tired and walked away – and even told her to put on her slippers without helping her
Patricia was thankfully rescued by 22-year-old Hermes driver Karolina Domska 20 minutes later, who helped her up, got her inside her home and called her neighbours
What is osteoporosis? Health condition that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break
Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break.
It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break.
The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are broken wrist, broken hip and broken spinal bones.
However, breaks can also happen in other bones, such as in the arm or pelvis. Sometimes a cough or sneeze can cause a broken rib or the partial collapse of one of the bones of the spine.
Osteoporosis is not usually painful until a bone is broken, but broken bones in the spine are a common cause of long-term pain.
Although a broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis, some older people develop the characteristic stooped (bent forward) posture. It happens when the bones in the spine have broken, making it difficult to support the weight of the body.
Osteoporosis can be treated with bone strengthening medicines.
The joint record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in the UK is held by Braemar and Altnaharra, in the Highlands, which have recorded -27.2C on three separate occasions.
Recovering at home after the incident, Patricia told MailOnline: ‘I’m a bit sore and I think it is catching up with me lying on the ground for so long.
‘I was soaked through and it has left me sore all over.
‘The bump on my head where I banged it is still sore to touch and I can’t comb my hair at all.’
She added: ‘I fell down my front steps onto the concrete driveway and it was covered in snow and ice. When I fell down I banged my head.
‘I asked the postman to help me get up and he said he was too knackered.
‘He walked away and left me shouting for help. I shouted for a while and I was crying because I was angry and frustrated. I felt quite worthless.
‘I thought, why isn’t he helping me. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m a nice person.
‘I couldn’t believe that he walked away and left me and didn’t seek anybody’s help. I’m still in shock.’
Patricia, originally from Wolverhampton, has lived in Scotland for 40 years. She lost her husband Johnny a decade ago.
The remainder of her family, including grandchildren, live in England.
She was treated by paramedics after neighbours called an ambulance.
‘My next door neighbour phoned an ambulance and two paramedics came and checked me all over,’ she said.
‘They looked at the lump on my head and all around it. They said that I would need to be careful and just rest up.
‘If I feel sick or dizzy or have bad headaches I’ve to phone an ambulance straight away.’
She praised Hermes worker Karolina, who appeared on the scene 20 minutes later.
‘She tried to lift me up but couldn’t so she said she would get help and ran to get help from neighbours,’ Patricia said.
‘The neighbours all came out and one of the neighbours, a keep fit instructor lifted me and sat me on the step. He also got my niece Sheryl and her partner.
‘I was saturated from lying there that long. Sheryl helped me get changed and I lay on the bed waiting for the ambulance to come.’
Sheryl told MailOnline: ‘The postman came to deliver mail. He left a couple of parcels on my aunt’s front step. She came out and bent down to pick them up.
‘She tumbled over and banged her head. She told him, ‘I haven’t been very well, could you help me up please?’
‘He said, ‘Listen, I can’t help you pal. I’m knackered. I’ve been up since nine this morning delivering mail in this weather.’ And he walked off.
‘I didn’t believe it when I was told what the postman had done until I saw the footage because nobody in their right mind would leave a 72-year old lady lying in a foot of snow.
‘It beggars belief that someone would treat another human being in this manner. He left her there to die.’
Patricia’s niece Sheryl, who has been looking after the pensioner, said she was helped inside by a Hermes worker a short time later who then called a neighbour for help
The 72-year-old pensioner has osteoporosis and has fallen over twice recently. Treatment for her condition, including scans and surgery, have been delayed due to the lockdowns
Patricia fell over outside her home as Storm Darcy lashes Britain, with cold weather on the way
The postman, who has yet to be identified, also failed to alert neighbours to her plight as he carried on making his rounds.
Hermes delivery worker Karolina Domska arrived in the area 20 minutes later and provided the assistance the postman failed to deliver, staying with Patrica and calling for help from Pat’s neighbours.
Sheryl said: ‘It’s shocking. I’ve still not come to terms with it. The postman’s left my aunt feeling really quite worthless and upset. He couldn’t even help her.
‘It is very lucky that the Hermes lady turned up when she did 20 minutes later because my aunt could have lay there for three hours and, God forbid, froze to death because he left her there.
‘We appreciate he might not have wanted to touch my aunt and get her up but he then proceeded to deliver more mail through other letter boxes.
‘Why not just chap a neighbour’s door and say, ‘There’s a lady lying along there who has fallen and hurt her head. Can you call for help?’
‘That is the sensible thing to do. He is passing so many other doors. It beggars belief.
‘It was -9 in Falkirk and one of the coldest spells on record in Scotland. It was freezing. She had no jacket on. My aunt’s slippers had come off.
‘She’s lying there barefoot and as the postman walked away he said to her, ‘Put your slippers on’. She couldn’t put them on because she couldn’t get up.
‘It’s disgusting. You wouldn’t treat a dog like that and she could have died. He left her to die. That is the situation.’
Sheryl was not due to visit until three hours after the incident.
‘I am over four times a day. It happened at one in the afternoon and I wasn’t due to go over until four,’ she added.
Patricia’s niece Sheryl Harkins, 36, accused the Royal Mail postman, who has not yet been identified, of leaving the pensioner ‘to die’ in the snow.
Twitter users vented their fury at the Royal Mail postman who refused to help Patricia
‘She could have lain there for three hours and I’m pretty sure in that temperature after three hours she wouldn’t have been in a good situation.’
Sheryl was stunned when neighbour Shona Thompson showed her video footage from her doorbell camera and has only been able to watch it twice.
Shona told the Sun: ‘It was really cold, she could’ve got hypothermia and she could still get pneumonia because of all of this. It’s not fair at all.’
Patricia yesterday received an apology from a member of the Royal Mail management team after footage of the incident went viral.
Sheryl said: ‘A gentleman from the Royal Mail arrived yesterday, a manager of some sort. He apologised and asked if there was anything he could do, but I have no idea whether they will be back in touch or what’s going to happen.
‘They have acknowledged the situation and he said they are investigating.’
She added: ‘We told the gentleman from the Royal Mail we don’t want that postman delivering mail to anyone ever again because what he did was disgusting.
‘I’ve contacted senior officers at Royal Mail because I’m not going to let this go. It is not acceptable what this guy has done and an apology is not good enough.
‘I would like the postman identified but some family members don’t want to know because of what he has done.
‘I would like to know who he is because I am friendly and chatty in the community. I’d hate to come across this chap in the future and be nice to him not knowing who he is.
‘We are the kind of community where we say hello to people and stop to chat but I wouldn’t want to be nice to him after what he’s done.’
A Royal Mail Spokesperson said: ‘Royal Mail expect the highest standards of behaviour from our people while out on deliveries and collections at all times. We regularly remind our postmen and postwomen of the important role they play in their local communities
‘We were very sorry to learn about this incident, and for the distress this incident has caused. We are in touch with the customer concerned and will be investigating this incident.’
Do YOU know who the postman is? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.