A well-respected paramedic that fatally stabbed while on the job has been farewelled by his devastated family, friends and colleagues.
Steven Tougher, 29, was allegedly stabbed multiple times in the carpark of a McDonald’s in Campbelltown, southwest Sydney, at about 5:30 am, on April 14.
The NSW Ambulance paramedic and former nurse had been expecting his second child with his wife Madison when he was stabbed inside his ambulance.
Mr Tougher’s service at the University of Wollongong, just south of Sydney, is being described as a ‘celebration of life’ rather than a funeral at his family’s request.
Steven Tougher, 29, was allegedly stabbed multiple times in the carpark of a McDonald’s in Campbelltown, southwest Sydney, at about 5:30am, on April 14
The casket of paramedic Steven Tougher is seen arriving in a hearse to his memorial at the University of Wollongong, south of Sydney, on Monday morning
Paramedic Steven Tougher (right) married the love of his life, Madison (left), just four weeks before he was stabbed to death outside a southwest Sydney McDonald’s
NSW Premier Chris Minns, Health Minister Ryan Park, the late paramedic’s NSW Ambulance colleagues and his friends and relatives are expected to attend.
The formal ceremony began at 11am on Monday, with ambulance and police helicopters flying overhead as paramedics formed a guard of honour to escort Mr Tougher’s hearse to the venue.
Mr Tougher’s wife, dad Jeff and sister Jess are all due to speak at the ceremony alongside his friends and a fellow paramedic.
NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dr Dominic Morgan is expected to posthumously present the 29-year-old with a list of honours including a pandemic service medal and national medal.
Heartbreaking scenes played out two weeks ago when more than 20 members of his family visited the scene of his death.
Mr and Mrs Tougher (above) were set to welcome a new baby in the upcoming weeks – a fundraiser started to help their family has raised more than $500,000
Police officers attended the memorial for young paramedic Steven Tougher on Monday
Mr Tougher’s casket was draped with an Australian flag as it arrived at the memorial
Women carried large bouquets of flowers into the University of Wollongong
Paramedics formed a guard of honour to escort Mr Tougher’s hearse to the venue
They lay flowers over the mountain of tributes placed by mourners and before sharing an emotional tribute to their ‘hero’.
‘Steven had an uncanny ability to connect with people, to truly understand their needs, and to provide care with genuine warmth and empathy,’ the Tougher family said shortly after his tragic death.
‘He was always ready with a smile, a kind word, or a lending hand and brought joy to those around him.’
The young paramedic had been married just weeks before his untimely death with over $500,000 raised for Madison and his children.
It’s understood Mr Tougher had been nearing the end of a night shift when a stranger allegedly lunged at him and repeatedly stabbed him in the stomach.
Mr Tougher studied at Charles Sturt University and graduated from his paramedicine degree in mid-2022 (pictured, Mr and Mrs Tougher at his graduation)
Mr Tougher and his wife Madison were married just four weeks before the tragic incident (the couple are pictured dancing at their wedding)
Mr Tougher and his colleague had been ‘working hard all night’ and were taking a meal break at the time in a McDonalds car park.
As police rushed to the scene and arrested his alleged attacker, Mr Tougher was rushed to Liverpool Hospital in a critical condition where he later died.
Jordan Fineanganofo, 21, has been charged with murder. He remains in custody and is due to next face a Sydney court on June 28.
His lawyer told AAP the day after the attack that his client had been receiving extensive mental health treatment but was ‘off treatment and medication’ at the time of the alleged stabbing.
Mr Tougher studied at Charles Sturt University where he was the President of the online Student Representative Committee.
Before his graduation, Mr Tougher worked at Wollongong Private Hospital as a nurse. He graduated from his para-medicine degree in mid-2022.
He became a paramedic intern in May, 2022, and was just weeks away from going on paternity leave when he was killed.
Mr Tougher’s father, Jeff, is leading the charge for stronger laws to protect emergency workers and ensure what happened to his son never happens again.
Mr Tougher (above) had reportedly dreamt of being a paramedic since he was five years old but was tragically killed just months after joining the NSW Ambulance team
It’s understood Mr Tougher was filling out paperwork for the end of his night shift when he was stabbed in the back of his ambulance (above)
NSW Police received a code one call at about 5.30am on Friday when Mr Tougher was repeatedly stabbed in the abdomen (pictured, police at the scene)
‘I hope that the loss of Steven will not be for nothing, and that this senseless act can be a catalyst for change, to support better working conditions for his brothers and sisters in blue,’ he told reporters at the time.
‘Nobody deserves the grief that this event has brought forward.’
He said he wants mandatory life sentences for offenders found guilty of killing emergency workers.
NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce broke down in tears as she expressed sympathy for the victim’s family.
‘The health system is one big family and to lose someone in this way is just incomprehensible to us,’ she said
‘And to lose someone in this way is incomprehensible to us.
‘I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the wife and family of the paramedic.’