Boston

Nurse jailed for relationship with psychiatric patient

A nurse has been jailed after admitting having a relationship with a psychiatric patient.

Rebecca Burwell, who worked at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, was told by Judge Andrew Easteal that she had brought the nursing profession into disrepute by what she did.

Burwell, 49, of High Street, Heckington, was sent to prison for eight months and placed on the sex offenders’ register for ten years. She was also placed on the barring list preventing her from working with children and vulnerable adults.

Burwell admitted a charge of sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder by a care worker.

Judge Easteal, passing sentence at Lincoln Crown Court, told her: “It is hard to overstate how serious a position you are in.

“As a highly experienced nurse you understood only too well the responsibility you had towards anybody in the complainant’s position.

“I have no hesitation in accepting that you were a kind and generous person who has now lost everything that you have built up in the course of a hard working life.

“But by doing this you are bringing the whole profession into disrepute.

“There is no getting away from how serious this is even though it goes back some years. I cannot do anything other than pass a prison sentence.”

James Armstrong-Holmes, prosecuting, said the victim was a vulnerable woman who had been resident in psychiatric units on a number of occasions.

He told the court that the complainant had consented to the relationship which occurred a number of years ago.

Burwell was arrested after a complaint was made to police but initially denied she had been involved in a relationship with the woman. Later when confronted with text messages she had exchanged with the complainant she admitted what occurred.

Claire Howell, in mitigation, said that Burwell had lost everything because of the offence.

“She has been a nurse since she was 19. She was a good nurse and she loved it. She is a kind and generous person.

“She has lost her career. She will be on the adult and children barring list. She will never work again in the NHS.

“She has lost her accommodation. She has lost her car. She has lost everything.

“What she did was wrong and she bitterly regrets the decision she made. She still doesn’t understand why she did what she did. The only explanation she can give is that she was lonely and made an extremely bad judgement. She should never have got involved with the complainant.

“She is a person who has made a very bad mistake. She has been genuinely destroyed by what she has done.”