Hitchin hospital sexual offender jailed

A MAN who began a string of sexual assaults at a private hospital in Hitchin has been imprisoned for five years.

David Foster was jailed after admitting six charges of sexually assaulting patients, to Hull Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday).

Foster, 56, began his sex attacks in July 2008 when he was working at Pinehill Hospital, in Hitchin, where he worked as a theatre assistant, a temporary job which he got through an employment agency.

The court heard how a victim was having a minor facial operation, with the surgeon and assistant in the room, when the assault took place.

Foster told the woman to keep her eyes closed, took her arm and placed it on his private parts.

The victim reported the incident to a matron who quizzed Foster about the allegation.

Foster denied any wrong doing and said she must have imagined it, he was only reprimanded and told he would be monitored.

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Judge Simon Jack said this was “an error of judgement”, commenting: “They should have at least reported it to the police.”

Despite the matron’s warning Foster carried out another sex assault just four days later.

A 38-year-old woman underwent surgery to remove a lump from her breast and was taken into the recovery room after surgery.

When the women was left alone, Foster struck.

The woman who said she was “vulnerable and scared”, reported the assault, Foster was questioned by a matron and sacked.

Pinehill Hospital did not report the incidents to the authorities.

Paul Tempest, hospital manager at Pinehill, said: “The incidents were investigated in line with company policy and the investigation did not find any clear evidence of sexual assault.

“As such there was no further action.

“Humberside police contacted me about a much stronger incident in Yorkshire and we gave the police full co-operation in their investigation.

“Obviously with hindsight he has commited what appear to be further incidents.”

Pinehill Hospital are set to investige their internal review process following the incidents.

Following his dismissal Foster registered with another agency and went on to assault patients at the Queen Alexendra Hospital in Portsmouth, as well as Bridlington Hospital in East Yorkshire.

The offences span a period of two years and were carried out on four women at the three hospitals.

He carried out one sex attack while a patient was undergoing an operation and others were assaulted after surgery while they were still drugged.

Passing sentence on Foster, of Basingstoke in Hampshire, the judge said: “What you did strikes at the very heart of the relationship patients have with staff in hospital. It is the stuff of nightmares.

“Patients going into hospital for surgical procedures have to place themselves in the hands of medical staff. They have no option but to trust and submit their bodies to them.”