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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Cumbrian nurse sent naked photo of 13-year-old girl to friend

A senior judge has said it would be “a tragedy” if a nurse lost her job for forwarding on a naked picture of a 13-year-old girl who had been bullying her daughter.

Judge Peter Hughes QC made the comments while presiding over the case of a 33-year-old woman from Whitehaven.

The nurse, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sent the image on May 9 last year by mobile phone to a friend.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that, with the photograph, the nurse also added a message.

It read: “This is the girl who has been bullying my daughter, 13 years old!”

Jacob Dyer, prosecuting, said the fact she had sent the image was discovered when this friend’s phone was seized in an unrelated investigation in October.

“She admitted sending the message to her friend and that she hadn’t fully realised the significance of what she was doing in distributing the image,” he added.

She also admitted that she knew of the girl in the photograph and that her daughter had been bullied by her.

Mr Dyer added that the 13-year-old had taken the photograph herself, using a mobile phone, and then sent it to a boy at her school who had sent it on to other pupils.

The nurse’s daughter had received the picture through school friends and shown it to her mum.

Mr Dyer told the court the photograph was a “level one” image and was indecent purely because the girl in it was naked. He also said there was no suggestion it was sent for others’ gratification.

When interviewed by police, the nurse said: “I feel stupid and disgusted with myself and stupid for not realising what I was doing at the time.”

The nurse had been offered a caution by police but refused this for fear of the impact on her career.

She is suspended from work and will be subject to a hearing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

She pleaded guilty to a charge of distributing an indecent image of a child.

Judge Hughes only passed sentence after discussing the case with another judge.

“It is important to put this case in context on its own particular facts,” he said.

“The daughter received the photograph and she showed it to her mother and the defendant being concerned about the photograph decided to send it on to a friend of hers.”

He added: “In so doing this she committed the offence of distributing an indecent image, she therefore has criminal liability for the offence. There may be many parents though who, without thinking, may do the same thing as she did.”

He gave the nurse a six-month conditional discharge for the crime. She will also have to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for that period.

Judge Hughes added: “It is not for me to tell the Nursing and Midwifery Council what course of action they ought to take, that is a matter for them and not me. But I do express the view, if it counts, that it would be a total tragedy if this lady was to lose her career as a consequence.”

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