A NURSING assistant at West Suffolk Hospital has been jailed for two and a half years after admitting sexual activity with a vulnerable patient.
Edward Kelman, 62, had gone with the woman to her house, to feed her pets and check on her flat, when he removed her trousers.
“This offending was a gross breach of trust,” said Judge John Holt, sitting at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.
Kelman, who had worked on the same ward at the hospital in Bury St Edmunds for eight years, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual activity with the woman while she was in his care – he will be placed indefinitely on the sexual offences register.
The court heard the woman, in her early 30s, had been receiving treatment for depression and other issues since she was 12 and had been described by a consultant as ‘particularly vulnerable’.
She had twice made trips home with Kelman without incident. But during a third trip in February last year, Kelman hugged her and told her she was ‘gorgeous’ before he pushed her backwards on to her bed, removed her trousers, touched her and encouraged her to touch him.
Greg Perrins, prosecuting, said the woman was crying and telling Kelman to get off. Afterwards she consulted a doctor because she was worried about contraception and confided in another patient.
Kelman claimed the woman had initiated what happened. “She is a sexual predator,” he told police.
Joanne Eley, in mitigation, said Kelman, of Canon Pugh Drive, Acton, was of previous good character, while his wife of nearly 40 years wrote in his defence saying her husband ‘made a mistake’.
Miss Eley added that Kelman had told her: “My life is over, my life is now a complete mess. I’m sorry for her and her relatives and everyone involved. If I could turn back the clock I would.”