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Former mayor's sex assault trial begins

PUBLISHED: 16:46 13 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

A PATIENT with an incurable fatal disease has told a jury how a former mayor of Bury St Edmunds indecently assaulted her as she lay in hospital and in pain.

By Tracey Sparling

A PATIENT with an incurable fatal disease has told a jury how a former mayor of Bury St Edmunds indecently assaulted her as she lay in hospital and in pain.

Colin Jones, 56, of Dane Common, Kedington near Haverhill denies indecently assaulting the woman at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury on May 3, last year.

Mr Jones, a former police committee chairman, appeared in the dock at Norwich Crown Court in a dark suit and green tie, before a jury of nine men and three women and Judge Simon Barham.

Prosecuting Stephen Spence said Jones was employed as a health care worker at the hospital at the time of the allegation, to do menial daily tasks like fetching and carrying things for patients, and general hygiene duties to free the nurses for medical tasks.

He said the victim was a patient in May 2001 when she was approached by Jones, and she said he introduced himself as a nurse.

He said: "She says he offered to assist her by giving her a bed bath then pulled the curtains closed around the bed and undressed her.

"Perhaps if matters had stopped there, there wouldn't be any complaint."

He said the woman had been in hospital several times and had a lot of experience of nursing and ancillary staff over the years.

He said: "What she will say happened on this occasion was something out of her experience. What this defendant did to her was far beyond what she had experienced ever before."

The victim claims Jones applied cream to her breasts, between her legs and to her buttock when it was not needed.

He added that when Jones was questioned by police he agreed he had treated the woman, but said he had behaved in a perfectly proper manner.

In court today the victim told the jury she suffered from a connective tissue disease of the muscles and joints which can leave her bedridden. She said: "It is a life-ending illness but the pain can be controlled."

She said she had been admitted to the hospital through A&E in a lot of pain and the next day was given a bed on Beyton Ward.

She said: "I felt like death, I felt dreadful and I couldn't breathe properly when I was admitted."

She said on May 3 a nurse was at her bedside talking about her medication when Jones approached her, wearing trousers and a white top which she thought was a uniform.

She said he offered to wash her and started going through her wash bag, she asked him to wait until the conversation had finished.

He later returned and when her pain became obvious he offered to wash her himself which she said was fine. She said: "He proceeded to take my clothes off, both top and bottom, which I didn't like, that had never been done to me before, normally they are discreet and cover me up with a towel but I landed up stark naked on the bed.

"He closed the curtains making sure every tiny gap at the top near the runners was closed. He had two pairs of glasses which he kept changing throughout what happened. He proceeded to wash me, I had to admit he was clumsy but I did make allowances because he was disabled I believe he had a club foot, it looked like he had a built up shoe and walked with a slight limp.

"I don't use soap and have to use cream. He said I looked a bit sore. He started putting the cream on and it was not where I would have put it. I was terribly upset. I tried to say that's not where I get bed sores and he said I am coming to that.

"I think I must have been in total shock I remember thinking I wanted to call out. I was uncomfortable and very unhappy. He said your boobs look a bit sore I think I should put some cream on them. He explained to me that his mother had suffered badly from bed sores so he had got a thing about bed sores."

She said he later washed an elderly female patient in a different manner but she was afraid to speak up because the experience had been humiliating and she felt she would not be believed.

The woman couldn't decide how to tell her husband, but broke down in tears when he visited.

She said earlier in the day Jones had also brought her a bed pan when she'd asked for a commode, then fetched a commode but pulled her underwear off before she had a chance to get off the bed and go to the toilet herself.

She said in the past nurses had always treated her with total respect.

The trial continues.

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