He was just five years old when an eye doctor stabbed to death three children in their hospital beds at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
He was too young to understand the devastating consequences of the incident, which happened just hours after he was discharged from the exact ward where the horrific crime was committed. For Paul, fate had thankfully intervened.
Dr Ahmad Alami had stalked the corridors of the hospital’s children’s ward in a schizophrenic rage – armed with a vicious looking Spanish clasp knife with a four inch blade on February 17, 1972. The children were stabbed as they slept in their cots in the dimly lit ward. Another child and two nurses were left seriously hurt.
Now 55 years old, Paul has shared his account of that day following an emotional read in The Gazette which marked the 50th anniversary of the tragedy.
"I’d been in the ward for some time recovering from meningitis. It was touch-and-go,” he said.
“Having been in hospital for some time and showing good signs of recovery, my mother was very insistent that I be released that morning.
"The ward team were reluctant at first and requested I stay for my lunch and be assessed by the doctor shortly after.
"I do recall a not so nice bowl of semolina pudding that needed to be finished, to show my appetite was back too.
"My mother, being very strong-willed and insistent, continued to press the doctor during my exam and he agreed to release me at that time.
"We knew nothing about the events later that evening until late that same night, we were woken by a reporter linked to the Daily Mail.
"I can’t say I knew what was going on but do remember being asked to hold my older brother’s teddy bear for a picture to be taken.”
In the hours after the stabbings, the police team, including tracker dogs, began a methodical search of the grounds for the murder weapon.
The grim riddle was solved several hours later when Dr Alami, who had gone back to work at the hospital after the stabbings as if nothing had happened, was arrested in his flat in the doctors’ quarters.
Family man Paul, who recently became a grandfather, has remained on the Fylde Coast ever since and currently lives in Cleveleys. He recalled how his mum Jean, who passed away in 2006, felt shocked and petrified at what could have been.
“Apart from feeling distraught at what happened to the children, there was always an underlying feeling of how different it could have been.
"I remember her animation, insisting that I was ready to go home and the semolina puddings. For me as a five-year-old, I just wanted to go home.
“I kind of recall from the time what could have happened and since then, as an adult, I've looked at life as a whole in a different way - it definitely has had a knock on effect.”
After being interviewed by the Daily Mail, Paul’s photo was on the front page of the paper, headlining above the results of the general election the next day.