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Predatory mental health nurse is struck off

A MENTAL health nurse who slept with a widow less than a week after she tried to kill herself and “groomed” two other vulnerable patients has been kicked out of the profession.

 Nicholas Crouchman (42) was struck off the nursing register after 12 allegations of misconduct during his time as a psychiatric nurse at the Edith Cavell Hospital between January 2007 and September 2008 were found proved at a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing.

The panel had heard he began a sexual relationship with a grieving widow less than a week after she tried to kill herself and on the same day he was sacked for kissing another suicidal patient.

A third woman, who had a history of self-harming, also received unwanted text messages from him.

After finding him guilty of misconduct, NMC panel chairman Michael Cann said Crouchman demonstrated “predatory premeditation” and that his behaviour was “borne purely out of a desire for sexual gratification”.

Ruling that his fitness to practice was impaired, Mr Cann added: “Mr Crouchman’s denial and non-acceptance of the charges against him demonstrated grave lack of insight.

“His actions were repeated with several service users, indicating personal character traits which could not be easily remedied.

“Mr Crouchman’s actions amounted to systematic grooming of three vulnerable patients, using information obtained in his professional capacity.

“It was particularly abhorrent that Mr Crouchman had tried to force the service users, two of whom had attempted suicide, the other of which had been self-harming, to continue relationships, telling them not to tell anyone about it.

“His behaviour was borne purely out of a desire for sexual gratification and he demonstrated a total disregard for the well-being of his patients.

“Furthermore, Mr Crouchman demonstrated predatory premeditation. He abused the autonomy he was given in his capacity as a senior mental health practitioner.”

Crouchman was part of the senior crisis team responsible for supporting vulnerable patients with mental health problems in the community with home visits and telephone calls.

The widow, referred to as Service User B, came into his care after she attempted suicide nine months after the death of her partner.

The hearing heard that Crouchman first had sex with her on January 18, 2008, the day he had been sacked for gross misconduct.

Denise Bowyer, investigating officer for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS trust, said: “On the occasions when she did not want to have sex he would do all he could to make her give in. When the relationship broke down she was informed of the reason why he had left the trust.

“He asked her not to ruin his nursing career but she wondered if she was targeted from the beginning. She feels that he used her depression to avoid telling her the truth.”

Crouchman now lives in the Isle of Man and has 28 days to appeal. In the meantime he is subject to an 18-month interim suspension order.



Dec 15