A former nurse has been jailed for sexually assaulting three women when he worked at hospitals.
Stephen Board, 65, was today convicted of seven counts of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration.
Jurors swiftly returned a guilty verdict after hearing during the trial how he subjected one of his patients to ‘torture’ while she was awake during surgery.
Board, of Linden Road in Bognor, was sentenced to 12 years in prison at Hove Crown Court this afternoon.
The jury was shown a recorded interview earlier in the trial in which the witness said she was told not to move during the eye surgery and to communicate only by squeezing Board’s hand.
The witness - who cannot be named for legal reasons - said: “I took it as being done hundreds of times before.
“I was nervous because I did not know what was going to hurt or if it was going to work.”
But during the operation the nurse let go of her hand and the assault began, she told the jury.
She said: “I felt that he was sort of searching with his hand, groping at my chest.
“It was torture because I could not communicate with the surgeon.
“I was so scared, I just felt trapped. I wanted to scream out but I couldn’t.”
The court also heard how Board groped a woman as she recovered from surgery at Worthing Hospital, groggy from general anaesthetic.
Prosecutor Hugh Forgan told the jury she had been admitted to hospital with severe pain and Board had been one of the nurses giving her care.
He said before she went in for surgery Board told her: “Don’t worry, I’ll look after you.”
When she awoke afterwards, Board asked her what she remembered.
She described her memories as ‘a puzzle’, Mr Forgan said.
He added: “Six days later she was to set out these memories to the police.”
A third woman gave evidence to say she was also assaulted by board as she recovered from surgery.
As well serving a jail term Board will spend the rest of his life on the sex offender’s register.
Detective Constable Carolyn Moore said: “It took a great deal of courage for the victims to come forward and support this investigation.
“They were in a position of extreme vulnerability when they were sexually assaulted and wanted to ensure that nobody else suffered the same emotional trauma.
“Board abused his position of trust in the worst possible way and the guilty verdict on all eight counts is a just reflection on the gravity of the crimes he committed.
“We always take any such reports of this nature seriously and will encourage any victims to come forward and speak to our specially trained officers.”
Nicola Ranger, chief nurse at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are shocked and appalled by the actions of Mr Board and our thoughts at this difficult time are with the patients he assaulted.
“For a nurse to abuse their trust in such a way is utterly reprehensible.
“Fortunately, such incidents are extremely rare.
“We apologise unreservedly to the women affected and deeply regret that these deplorable offences took place in our hospitals.”