Published Tuesday, 04 March 2014
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