A VULNERABLE woman with a mental disorder has slammed a care worker who sexually touched her at a Christchurch caravan park for putting her “through hell”.
Peter Hill was jailed for 21 months at Bournemouth Crown Court for his offending and also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.
The 61-year-old NHS support worker came into contact with the victim in 2015 because she had been under the care of the community mental health service for a number of years.
She was in her 20s and their relationship soon developed beyond professional boundaries, the court was told.
Phone records showed the pair exchanged more than 900 text messages between late 2015 and August 2017.
They also became physically intimate three times. On the first occasion they kissed at Purbeck cliff top and on the second occasion at her home.
A third occasion at a caravan park in Christchurch involved the pair kissing and alleged sexual touching by Hill.
The matters came to light after the victim made disclosures to a health professional and the police became involved.
Speaking out after Hill was sent down, his distressed victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said: “Mr Hill has put me and my family through hell when we were already shaken by the effects of my childhood abuse and my mental illness.
“Mr Hill has really scared me with his manipulative and controlling behaviour.”
She continued: “Mr Hill’s actions have left me feeling a shell of who I was and it has been a very difficult struggle to maintain hope and life.
“I needed his input as a professional support worker. Initially he was supportive but he groomed me. He committed acts knowing what I had been through as a child and young adult, knowing how fragile and vulnerable I was.
“That level of disregard for me, for any human being, is hard to come to terms with. It makes it hard to believe that I am worth anything at all and has made me question my own sanity at times.
“What Mr Hill has done has affected every part of my life and it is taking a good deal of support and therapy to come to terms with the events that took place.”
She thanked Dorset Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, Dorset Rape Crises and NHS staff involved in her case, as well as supportive family and friends.
Hill, of Bradpole Road, Bournemouth, faced three charges of engaging in sexual activity with a woman with a mental disorder.
He admitted the kissing offences but denied the sexual touching.
As a result a trial was held at which a judge ruled in favour of the prosecution and determined there had been sexual touching by Hill.
DC Nicky Sharpe, of Bournemouth CID, said after the sentencing: “Peter Hill was in a position of trust and abused his role as a support worker for this vulnerable woman.
“Regardless of whether any of the activity was consensual Hill’s actions clearly overstepped the professional boundary and took advantage of her vulnerability.
“I would like to thank the victim for her support during this case and for having the courage to come forward in relation to these offences.”