A NURSE sexually assaulted women patients as they recovered from breast enlargement operations, a court heard.
Gavin Nicholson groped the alleged victims at the Washington Spires Hospital as they were coming round from anaesthetic, it is claimed.
The 57-year-old former RAF policeman denies five sexual assault charges and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
He claims the women’s experiences were “hallucinations” brought on by the effects of anaesthetic.
Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC, told the court Nicholson faces charges in relation to five women who had undergone procedures at the hospital between 2007 and 2008.
Three of the alleged victims had gone in for breast augmentation surgery, one was having a procedure on her shoulder and the other was having an operation on her ear.
In an email sent to the director of the hospital by one of the women, before she reported her ordeal to the police, she said: “I still lie awake at night thinking about it.
“I know I can’t prove anything and it would be this man’s word against mine, but please don’t let this happen again.
“I just feel so ashamed I have been violated like this.
“This should not have happened and I ask you to make sure it does not happen again.
“This man can’t be allowed to make anyone else feel like I feel.”
The court heard three of the women claim they were sexually assaulted as they were in the recovery room immediately after having surgery.
One woman says she was groped by Nicholson, who she thought was “creepy” as he helped her put a sports bra on the day after her surgery.
And one incident is said to have taken place in front of a patient’s husband when Nicholson claimed to be carrying out a bladder scan after her surgery.
Prosecutors accept some anaesthetic can cause dreams and hallucinations, but Mr Campbell told the court these are usually pleasurable and quickly forgotten as the effects of the anaesthetic wears off.
Mr Campbell said: “This is not what these women are describing.
“The prosecution case is that although the anaesthetics that were used on these female patients could in theory produce dreams and hallucinations, this is not the case here.
“Each of these women were sexually assaulted and the evidence points to Gavin Nicholson as being the perpetrator.”
Nicholson, of West Avenue, Harraton, Washington, was tried by a jury in relation to the case last year.
Jurors failed to reach verdicts in relation to the charges, but cleared him of one further sexual assault in relation to one of the alleged victims.
Nicholson denies all charges.