Hospital sex fiend gets 15 years' jail

A PSYCHIATRIC nurse who repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted two of his patients has received a 15-year jail sentence.

Michael Crossland was found guilty of 12 sexual offences including rape, sexual assault and sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder by a care worker.

Crossland, 32, was working as a support nurse at the psychiatric hospital, based at Eastbourne DGH, in 2007 and started relationships with two patients.

Both suffered from depression and personality disorders and one of the women was hospitalised after a suicide attempt.

Jennifer Knight, prosecuting, told the court Crossland raped and sexually assaulted the two women, aged 24 and 30, while in a relationship with them.

Most of the offences happened at Crossland's home address in Park Croft, Polegate, while his wife and daughter were away visiting relatives.

He also engaged in sexual activity at the hospital and arranged to meet one of the women for sex in the college car park, next to the hospital.

During the trial the jury were shown explicit video clips and pictures of Crossland which he had filmed in the toilets at Eastbourne DGH and then sent to one of his victims.

Judge David Rennie said the way Crossland had engaged in sexual acts in the hospital was 'brazen'.

He told Crossland, "As a member of staff at the department of psychiatry you were, I expect, trusted with enormous responsibility.

"Your job was to protect and safeguard some people in our society who were so vulnerable they needed to be inpatients.

"Such was the state of their vulnerability there were episodes of self-harm and concerns about the ongoing risks of suicide.

"As a nurse involved in their care you were fully aware of all those factors yet you chose to manipulate yourself in to their trust."

Judge Rennie spoke about each victim and said, "You ignored her protests and her struggles, pinned her down and got on with it. She was confused but you were in control and knew exactly what you were doing."

Crossland was given concurrent jail sentences for each of the 12 offences. He will serve half of his 15-year sentence and will be put on the sexual offenders register.

Judge Rennie added, "People in caring positions need to be aware that if they abuse the vulnerable people in their care they will go to prison for a long period of time."