Leeds mental health nurse jailed for sexual activity with patient

editorial image

A mental health nurse has been jailed for eight months after engaging in sexual activity with one of his patients in Leeds.

Luke Smith was working for Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust when he was assigned to support a male patient in January 2017.

Read more: Leeds mental health trust says jailed nurse's sexual activity with patient was 'isolated incident'

Leeds Crown Court heard today how Smith had visited the man’s home for their second appointment on the afternoon of January 31.

Within around a minute of leaving, Smith returned under the pretence of having left his pen.

Once inside the living room, he touched the man inappropriately before performing a sex act upon him.

Prosecutor Richard Walters said the victim did not stop Smith because he was in a state of shock.

"He described it as being something like an out of body experience," he said.

Mr Walters said Smith asked if the victim was okay and stopped when the victim asked.

He said: "The victim insisted the defendant didn't force himself upon him, but felt he did abuse his trust. He didn't want any sexual contact and didn't encourage it in any way."

Read more: Nurse dismissed by Leeds health trust remains under police investigation

Smith, 30, of Manderston Chase, Armley, admitted one offence of sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder by a care worker.

Michael Walsh, mitigating, said Smith had a degree in mental health nursing and was well respected nurse.

"He's thrown that away by what he described as a moment of madness," he said. "There's no excuse for his actions.

"He didn't in any way force himself on the complainant but he did, of course, abuse his trust."

Mr Walsh said Smith had lost his nursing job and another in a call centre, and would likely struggle to find work in the future as a result of his conviction.

He said it had also affected his relationship with his family, although a number of them were in court to show support.

He added that Smith was ashamed of his actions, particularly the impact it has had upon his victim.

Also in court: Man admits to rape after sex attack on teenager in Leeds City Centre

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said: "All your adult life you've served the community, caring for those who are vulnerable and needy - and that requires a great deal of trust is imposed on you. A year ago, you abused that trust."

He acknowledged the impact it was already having on Smith's life, his previous good character and his guilty plea at the first opportunity.

But he said that the abuse of trust was so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate.

Smith will serve four months before being considered from release on licence. He must also sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years and pay a victim surcharge.

The court heard that Smith's conviction means he will be automatically barred from working with people with mental health issues in future.