Dorset

Bournemouth care worker jailed for patient sexual activity

Peter Hill Image copyright Dorset Police
Image caption Petere Hill, 61, began a relationship with the woman, who was in her 20s at the time

An NHS support worker has been jailed for sexual activity with a vulnerable woman with a mental disorder who he was employed to look after.

Peter Hill admitted kissing the woman on three occasions in March 2017, but had denied sexually touching her.

The court heard how their relationship went beyond professional boundaries with more than 900 text messaged exchanged over two years.

The 61-year-old, from Bournemouth, was sentenced to 22 months in prison.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard the victim had been under the care of community mental health services for a number of years.

Hill, of Bradpole Road, Bournemouth, began supporting her in 2015 when she was in her 20s.

Image copyright N Chadwick
Image caption The first offence, where Hill kissed the victim, took place at Dancing Ledge near Langton Matravers on the Isle of Purbeck

They began exchanging text messages in November and that carried on until August 2017, when the woman told a health professional about the relationship and the matter was referred to police.

The charges related to three incidents, within the space of a week, in which the pair kissed on a cliff top at Dancing Ledge in Purbeck, at the victim's address and later at a caravan park in Christchurch.

Following a trial of issue, the judge ruled in favour of the prosecution, supporting the victim's claim there had been sexual touching.

'Manipulative and controlling'

Det Con Nicky Sharpe, of Bournemouth CID, said: "Peter Hill was in a position of trust and abused his role as a support worker for this vulnerable woman.

"Regardless of whether any of the activity was consensual, Hill's actions clearly overstepped the professional boundary and took advantage of her vulnerability."

In a statement, the victim said Hill "really scared me with his manipulative and controlling behaviour".

"I was trapped in this situation. My own mental and physical health has been severely affected because of this," she said.

"Mr Hill has put me, and my family, through hell, when we were already shaken by the effects of my childhood abuse and my own mental illness."

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