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Paramedic jailed for patient sex assault

PUBLISHED: 08:46 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 July 2010

A paramedic from Scarning who sexually assaulted a teenage woman as she lay in a state of near-paralysis in the back of an ambulance was jailed yesterday.

A paramedic from Scarning who sexually assaulted a teenage woman as she lay in a state of near-paralysis in the back of an ambulance was jailed yesterday.

Iain Finney, 33, indecently touched the 19-year-old and took pictures of her on his mobile phone, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Although the woman had been virtually unable to move, she was aware of what was happening and complained to a nurse when she reached the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Finney, who worked for the East of England Ambulance Trust, had been responding to an emergency call to Mercy nightclub in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, on April 5 last year, said Andrew Thompson, prosecuting.

On the way, he told a colleague he hoped the patient would be “some good-looking girl”, the court heard.

The teenager, who had consumed a “fairly large amount” of alcohol, had collapsed in the venue's toilets, suspecting that her drink had been spiked.

Finney, of Blackthorn Drive, Scarning, was alone in the back of the ambulance with the woman, from King's Lynn, when the assault took place.

In police statements she told how Finney had removed her breasts from her bra while she was strapped to a trolley and touched both nipples. She then heard five or six clicks, which she recognised as the noise of a mobile phone camera. She then

felt her knickers and tights being lowered and heard more clicks.

Finney claimed he had performed a recognised medical test by touching her nipples

with his pen.

The court heard he disposed of his mobile phone, yet claimed it was broken and that he had been

using his wife Donna's that night. She backed up his story and

received a police caution for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Last month, Finney admitted sexual assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Matthew Gowen, defending, said Finney had worked as a paramedic for 10 years, had an unblemished record and was spoken highly of by colleagues.

He had been unhappy at work, having been given greater responsibility, and was under great stress.

“The combination of that and

his general unhappiness led him

to so something entirely out of character. Whatever the rationale behind it he accepts that on that night there was the gravest breach of trust,” he said, adding that the assault had not been pre-meditated.

Recorder Guy Ayers gave Finney credit for his guilty pleas but said the victim's incapacitated state and his breach of trust were aggravating factors.

“I accept you are thoroughly ashamed of what you did and the effect it had on your family and your victim. It has had a significant impact on that young woman who now needs counselling to deal with what has happened.”

Jailing Finney for nine months and placing him on the sex offenders' register for 10 years, the judge added: “It had to be immediate because members of the public who put themselves into the care of paramedics and medical practitioners must be able to trust them.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Trust said it was sorry for the distress caused to Finney's victim.

“As a trust, we are saddened by

this event. We take pride in our

high personal and professional standards and would reassure the public that this is an extremely rare case.”

The spokesman added that Finney had been immediately suspended and later resigned.

“The trust has also referred Mr Finney's case to the Health Professions Council, which we understand has suspended his practice as a paramedic,” she said.

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