PARAMEDICS battling to save the life of a Southampton man were forced to barricade themselves in a room when they were attacked by his girlfriend, an inquest heard.

Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman labelled the actions of Kerry Dowling and others who were fighting in the home of James Haines as “absolutely disgraceful”.

Worried ambulance staff had to urgently call for police help after coming under attack at the house in Sedburgh Road, Millbrook , on January 28.

Concerned neighbours had phoned 999 when 49-year-old Mr Haines fell ill during a poker evening with friends.

The court heard regular drink and drug-fuelled card games were a virtually nightly part of his “unusual lifestyle”.

But when ambulance workers attended to help treat Mr Haines, who family members described as a “heavy drinker”, they were soon attacked by his girlfriend, who was described as being “extremely volatile” and “up and down” on the night.

Police officers had to keep her outside as medics tried to keep Mr Haines alive.

He was eventually taken to Southampton General Hospital , but died shortly after midnight.

Post-mortem results showed he did not have high levels of alcohol or any drugs in his system, and had actually been killed by a heart condition.

Recording a verdict of death from natural causes, Mr Wiseman said he was horrified by the way paramedics had been treated.

He said: “Certain aspects of this case are quite extraordinary.

“When the emergency services were called they were pretty much assaulted by this young lady who was a recent girlfriend, and there appeared to be a significant number of others of those present who were fighting.

“There’s no indication of what they were fighting about, or why on earth they were seeking to impede the ambulance staff from treating Mr Haines.

“I would be doing (the paramedics) a disservice if I didn’t say that the behaviour they were faced with was quite disgraceful, and I’m very sorry at what they had to put up with in simply going about their duty in trying to save this man’s life.

“Everyone involved in this case assumed that alcohol would have been involved in what occurred, but toxicology showed that was not the case and he died in the end at the age of 49 of a heart condition.”