Woman said she was powerless to stop nurse attacking her

Stephen Board arrives at Hove Crown Court for trial. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Stephen Board arrives at Hove Crown Court for trial. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

A young woman recovering from surgery at Worthing Hospital was powerless to stop a nurse sexually assaulting her, jurors heard today.

Stephen Board, 65, appeared at Hove Crown Court this morning for the second day of his trial for sex offences.

Board, of Linden Road in Bognor, worked as a nurse at Worthing and St Richard’s hospitals for many years.

He denies seven counts of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration.

The female victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared behind a screen today to give evidence against Board, whom she said assaulted her.

She told the court she had been in and out of Worthing Hospital because she was suffering from severe pain in her side, and had been admitted again early on the morning the offences allegedly took place.

She said she first met Board when she had been already been given anaesthetic for surgery, but the operation had just been pushed back.

She said: “It made me feel sleepy, light headed, and like I could hardly keep my eyes open.

“I was introduced to a man called Steve.

“He greeted me and said ‘do not worry I will look after you’.”

She told the court she was then taken for her operation, after which she was brought into a ward.

She added: “Steve the nurse was to my left. He said ‘what’s the first thing you remember about waking up?’”

She told the court she remembered being sexually assaulted while she was in the recovery room.

“I remember a man’s arm coming across my chest. It was definitely male because it was a hairy arm.

“The hand went into my gown.”

She told jurors at this point a voice she identified as Board’s asked her ‘is it ok if I do this to you?’.

It is at this point that it is alleged that three of the sexual assaults Board is charged with occurred, as well as the charge of assault by penetration.

She tried to stop him assaulting her, but the lingering effects of general anaesthetic meant she could not move enough to push him off, she told the court.

“I tried to get the arm off but all I could manage to do was move my left arm.”

Later she spoke of the anxiety she felt in the aftermath of the incident: “How am I going to tell my family what had happened to me?

“I was trying to process all that had happened.

“I did not want to see their faces when I told them.”

Jonathan Ray, defending Board, asked if her memories had been affected by the lingering anaesthetic.

He said: “I suggest that on this occasion you were having sexual hallucinations as a result of the drugs that were administered to you.”

The witness denied this was the case.

She added: “I am certain the events happened. It is just placing them in the chronological point of when they occurred.”

Board denies all charges and his trial continues.