February 2015

Care home nurse who took indecent photos of child ‘could be struck off’

A male nurse who was jailed at Sheffield Crown Court after his partner discovered indecent photos he had taken of a little girl could be struck off from nursing.

Mental health nurse Martin Paul was convicted of 18 charges of making an indecent photograph of a child at Rotherham Magistrates Court in December 2013.

He has now been hauled before the Nursing and Midwifery Council after he was jailed for 12 months at Sheffield Crown Court in January 2014.

An NMC Professional Conduct Committee found the conviction against Paul proved, and could ban him from nursing for life it if rules his fitness to practise has been impaired.

Matthew Kewley, for the NMC, told the meeting in Aldwych, London, Paul was imprisoned for 12 months after his shocked partner uncovered the images – seven of which show his private parts.

Paul, who was working at the Chapel Lodge Care Home, in Rotherham, had previously taken the photos of two girls after their mother let him take them swimming and to the park, Mr Kewley said.

Mr Kewley said: “On 21 December 2013, his partner discovered the photos then waited for Mr Paul to leave the house and go to work before taking the photos to the police.

“He was arrested and interviewed by officers, and accepted they were in fact his photographs and that they were inappropriate.

“He told police during his interviews that they were of a woman’s daughter.

“The young girl was interviewed in due course and said there were occasions when they would go swimming.”

The committee heard it was there that Paul took the photos in the changing room.

Mr Kewley added: “At court, a judge said Mr Paul had been trusted to take this young girl swimming and so had abused a position of trust.

“He had sought to take the photos for his own gratification. There was no suggestion he had intended to distribute the photos – the court was just concerned with him making them.

“The judge decided upon a starting sentence of 18 months custody, which was reduced to 12 months in prison on the grounds Mr Paul had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”

Paul, who was present at the hearing, told the panel: ‘I have always admitted my guilt to the offences from the beginning.

“I had got the photos out of a box intending to destroy them the next day, but they were found first.

“I know it was a gross breach of trust imposed on me by a close personal friend, who I had known for a few years and I was very fond of the girl.

“I believe my actions impaired me and do affect public trust in nurses. I have only ever been a nurse and I do not know anything else.

“I’ve never done anything appropriate or had any problems in a work situation and have enjoyed being a nurse.’

The panel adjourned to consider its decision.