A PRISON nurse who kept love letters from an inmate five years after she was let off for having a fling with a convicted robber from Eastbourne was cleared of misconduct on Monday (July 23).
Lynn Hamilton, 51, took the correspondence home with her while working at Ford open prison near Arundel in West Sussex in September 2009.
The charge of taking the letters with her was found proved but the Nursing and Midwifery Council ruled it did not amount to misconduct.
Hamilton had been cleared of behaving in a ‘sexually motivated’ way towards the inmate and crying inconsolably when he was transferred to another jail.
Separate claims relating to an alleged affair with another prisoner at the same jail were also dismissed.
Following a central London hearing, a panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council ruled that her fitness to practise was NOT impaired by reason of misconduct.
The panel was told Hamilton was handed a five-year caution in 2004 by the regulator for embarking on an affair with a convicted robber.
She had been found guilty of breaching professional boundaries after meeting him at Rosslyn House, a rehabilitation hostel she founded and ran in Hailsham.
Hamilton took the patient on ‘therapeutic’ trips to the cinema and swimming baths after he had been detained under the Mental Health Act.
The ‘intelligent, articulate and charming’ crook won Hamilton’s heart at Rosslyn House in 2001.
Hamilton, a former lifeguard, admitted the relationship was wrong but told the hearing it was ‘love at first sight’ and more than just a casual fling.
Then a divorcee living in Brighton she told her NMC hearing before she was cautioned in 2004, “I do still have a relationship with Patient A. A very loving supportive and intimate relationship.
“He lives independently in Eastbourne and I live in Brighton.
“Even though we are very close we do not live together at the moment because I am a single parent with an 11-year-old daughter and my first priority is to her.”
When she was given a five-year caution at the last hearing the NMC panel made her clear that it did not condone her behaviour.
The latest case related to a period between July 2005 and October 2009 while Hamilton was working at Ford open prison.
Salim Hafejee, for the NMC, said a nurse who had never previously been charged with pursuing improper relationships with patients might be excused for their wrongdoing.
He said, “If it was an experienced nurse, who had dealt with these experiences previously, it would be a serious error of judgement.”
Of the letters, he added, “To take those home would be wholly inappropriate.”
NMC panel chair Jacki Pearce ruled today Hamilton’s behaviour had not amounted to professional misconduct.
“No policy or procedure was in place at HMP Ford which determined how to deal with letters of a personal nature from patients, and your action in taking the letters home did not pose a risk to patients,” she said.
“The panel considered this was an isolated incident.”
Ms Pearce added, “As a nurse with considerable experience, who was in a managerial position, you did not take appropriate action.”
After the judgement was read, Ms Hamilton replied simply, “Thank you.”