Nurse struck off after child porn shame

Liverpool Crown Court
Liverpool Crown Court

A mental health nurse covering Wigan who was caught with child porn has been struck off by the nursing regulator.


Patrick Coulter, who is said to have worked at an in-patient unit for what was then Five Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has already been given a 15-month suspended prison sentence over the indecent images by a Liverpool Crown Court judge.

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Coulter had pleaded guilty to six charges of making indecent photographs and one charge each of possessing an indecent photo and possession of extreme pornography.

An investigation was launched by Cheshire Police into 168 sexual pictures of children, which were said to have been found on electronic devices belonging to Coulter, in May 2015.

The nurse himself, who initially denied any involvement with the images, referred himself to the Nursing and Midwifery Council and he was immediately suspended by his employers.

His case took more than two years to come to court, where his punishment also included a sexual harm prevention order and being ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Hannah Smith, for the NMC, said Coulter had been convicted of serious offences and his actions “had caused serious damage to the reputation of the profession”.

Coulter, who did not attend the London hearing and was not represented, had not engaged with the regulator, a fitness to practice hearing was told.
Panel chairman Julia Louisa Thompson said that some of the aggravating factors, in the case, were that Coulter’s misconduct had continued over a four-year period and the nurse had not demonstrated any real insight into his failings.

The hearing was told that the court heard he had no previous convictions and there were no regulatory concerns since he was admitted to the register in September 2008.

Announcing the strike-off order, Ms Thompson added: “The panel was of the view that Mr Coulter’s conduct was a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse and was not satisfied that a period of suspension would satisfy the public interest or uphold public confidence in the profession or the NMC.”

Gail Briers, Chief Nurse and Director of Operational Clinical Services at North West Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust, which succeeded Five Boroughs, said: “The trust took action as soon as we were notified about the allegations against Mr Coulter in May 2015 and he was suspended with immediate effect.

“Following an internal investigation, he was dismissed from the trust.”