Nurse committed 'horrific sex attack'

Published Tuesday, 04 March 2014
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A judge has told a court a male nurse launched what he described as an "absolutely horrific" sex attack on a vulnerable patient.

Nurse committed 'horrific sex attack'
The father-of-one has been held until sentencing. (© Presseye)

Although defence QC David Hopley told Downpatrick Crown Court that 58-year-old David Hull was "deeply ashamed and terribly sorry" for what he had done, Judge Piers Grant said not only had Hull breached the trust placed in him but that his actions had "exacerbated" the lady's medical conditions.

He said: "An additional factor that flows from the position she was in [is that] she was completely and utterly at his mercy."

Hull, an auxiliary nurse from Main Street in Carrowdore on the Ards Peninsula, had pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault on the pensioner on 2 September last year while she was an inpatient at the Ulster Hospital.

Sitting in the dock with his head bowed throughout the half-hour hearing, Hull listened as prosecuting lawyer David McDowell outlined how his victim was vulnerable and bed bound.

The lawyer revealed that the lady was unable to move around her bed very much because her lower leg had been amputated.

Mr McDowell recounted that at around 9.30pm on 2 September, Hull was in the process of changing and cleaning the woman 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 female nurse, the lawyer told the court, adding that the pensioner was "shocked and horrified" at the assault.

"As he did this he said nothing and then he put the clean pad on, pulled the sheet over her and left, leaving her in shock," said Mr McDowell.

The lady did not report the incident until the following day and it was "reported up the line expeditiously and treated with the seriousness which it merited" but the court heard how the pensioner was fearful that as Hull would have had access to her medical notes, he would come back to the hospital or find her address.

However, as Mr McDowell told the court, "obviously there was no question of that in the circumstances".

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".

"He said he was disgusted at himself and that he would have to be punished, but he said that was for getting it wrong in not reporting it and not looking after the patient rather than for committing a sexual offence," the lawyer told the court.

Mr Hopley conceded that married father-of-one Hull had "broke every code" when he assaulted the pensioner and that although he realised the harm he caused, it was "very hard for him to accept that he engaged in this behaviour".

Remanding Hull back into custody, Judge Grant said he would sentence him this Friday.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
lucylou in belfast wrote (331 days ago):
A health care SUPPORT worker is just that. A support to nursing staff. The majority do a good job in the role they are employed for === support for the BASIC care of patients. I would hope an auxiliary 'nurse' would not be left to carry out involved nursing procedures on any relative of mine.[ Everyone who is paid in a job involving vunerable people should be 'totally accountable for their actions' from day one of their employment.
pat in belfast wrote (332 days ago):
The person IS a nurse,not a registered nurse. There is a difference. Band 2 Nursing Auxilliaries do providing basic nursing care to patients. Band 3 Health Care Support Workers are now in the process of working through VRQ Level 3 to ensure an appropriate standard of care is given. In time they will be totally accountable for their actions. Let us not discredit the many people who are not qualified staff and do their level best to provide the best of Nursing Care within their remit. Sadly in this instance a person was able to abuse an individual . It does beg the question as to why a male was allowed to do this? If the person is accountable to the staff nurse in charge then why was it acceptable to allow a male to be alone with a female?
lucylou in belfast wrote (332 days ago):
Why was a lone male left to deal with washing a female. Surely this should not be everyday practice. The same for females dealing with males in these circumstances. Not carrying out duties such as these on ones own is a safeguard for patients and those tending to them. An auxiliary is NOT a 'nurse',as unfortunately any art and f*r* can be an auxiliary so basic is the 'training'. They are a basic nurses aid, no more than that and should be used as such. If he was offered help and refused, then any excuse of him working alone due to staff shortages etc are not valid. A child cannot be alone with scout/guide leaders etc as they are deemed vunerable. Surely patients such as this lady should also be regarded as vunerable. She certainly was proved to be in this case. Because people are given the title 'nurse' does not mean they are incapable of acting wrongly.
stephanie in belfast wrote (332 days ago):
Worn out in Belfast trust wrote (332 days ago):
Disgusting. Why was a male care assistant cleaning and dressing an elderly lady....? He should never have had the opportunity. Another case of not enough staff, that's what. I should know as I work in a hospital and I know what the policy is. Will Mr poots finally do something about staffing levels, it's not just a&e departments that are feeling the pressure.
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