Nurse who sexually assaulted ‘defenceless’ patient jailed
Elderly female victim’s lower leg had been amputated and she was vulnerable and bed bound
A male auxiliary nurse who sexually assaulted a “hopelessly defenceless” elderly patient was today handed a five-year jail term.
Jailing 58-year-old David Hull at Downpatrick Crown Court, Judge Piers Grant told the man he had committed a serious breach of the trust between hospital patients and medical staff which had left his 65-year-old victim suffering a “significant degree” of harm.
“She trusted you only because you were a nurse and because you were supposed to be performing treatment was she prepared to do that,” said the judge. “She was hopelessly defenceless from you. There was nothing she could do to escape and nothing she could do to prevent it in anyway . . . but you went ahead and did it for your own sexual gratification.”
At an earlier court hearing Hull, an auxiliary nurse from Main Street in Carrowdore, had pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault on his 65-year-old victim on September 2nd last year while the female pensioner was an inpatient at the Ulster Hospital.
The court heard how how his victim was vulnerable and bed bound, suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), had been admitted to hospital when she developed a chest infection and had had a lower leg amputated.
As she was bed bound and unable to go the the toilet, the lady had to wear sanitary pads and it was when Hull was in the process of changing her sanitary pad and had cleaned her when he sexually assaulted her.
At the time and with the curtains closed around the victim’s bed, Hull refused the offer of help made by a fellow female nurse and Judge Grant told him today that would have been his first opportunity to “face up to the wickedness” of his actions against his “vulnerable, defenceless and severely handicapped” victim.
Instead, he declined the nurses offer of help, finding himself “sexually aroused” at the assault he was perpetrating.
The lady did not report the incident until the following day and the judge said that was hardly surprising given the “extremely distressing” nature of her ordeal and fears that Hull would either come back while she was still on the ward or would use her medical notes and records to get her home address.
Arrested and interviewed, Hull claimed the incident had happened accidentally when his hand slipped off the cleaning cloth but that when it did, “he found it sexually arousing,” admitting that he was “disgusted at himself”.
Judge Grant told the man that even if it was accidental, the fact that he did not report the incident was also a serious matter.
“The patient who goes into hospital with a serious condition makes an enormous investment of trust in the hospital staff and the hospital in turn train staff and trust them to give care to patients on the basis that they will perform appropriately without abusing that trust,” said the judge but he told Hull his behaviour was a “serious breach” of that trust. “This was an appalling invasion of this lady’s privacy and her right to be treated properly and appropriately by a male nurse.”
Judge Grant ordered Hull to serve his five-year sentence in custody and half on supervised licence, a condition of which is that he must undergo the community sex offenders programme.
As well as the jail term, Hull was ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for life, barred from working with children or vulnerable adults and must adhere to a lifelong Sexual Offences Prevention Order.