Published Friday, 07 March 2014
David Hull was sentenced to five years. (© Presseye)
Jailing 58-year-old David Hull at Downpatrick Crown Court, Judge Piers Grant told him 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.
"There is little doubt that she would not have invited, in normal circumstances, a man to touch her in the way that she required to do," said the judge.
He added: "She trusted you only because you were a nurse and because you were supposed to be performing treatment was she prepared to do that.
"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 by penetration on the victim on 2 September last year while the female pensioner was an inpatient at the Ulster Hospital.
The court heard how his victim was vulnerable and had had a lower leg amputated.
She was hopelessly defenceless from you.
Judge Piers Grant
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 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 he 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 him 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," declared the judge.
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.
A statement from the South Eastern Trust said: "As soon as this matter came to light, David Hull was immediately suspended. The matter was appropriately reported to PSNI for investigation, and following the court proceedings his employment will now be terminated.
"Throughout his time with the trust, Mr Hull had a blemish free record and no other incidents of inappropriate behaviour were reported during his period of employment."
© UTV News