In the Media

Broadmoor counsellor wrote note telling patient he was 'very special'

PUBLISHED August 22, 2012

Tracy Morton would enter patients' rooms alone on a ward for the most high-risk and dangerous patients at top-security Broadmoor psychiatric hospital.

The trained martial artist, who worked as a clinical team leader, tolerated inappropriate conduct which culminated in a therapy assistant friend resigning amid allegations she had a sexual relationship with two patients.

Ms Morton was sacked after handing a junior colleague a packet of sweets, to give to a patient being held under section in the top security wing, along with the bizarre card - which asked him to dispose of it by eating it.

The card told the unnamed man he was "very special", the employment judge was told.

Ms Morton was also said to have given patients food and sworn openly on the ward.

She is suing the hospital's management - West London Mental Health Trust - for unfair dismissal over the allegations of serious security breaches.

Michael Humphrey, Broadmoor's director of security, said: "We reviewed the card that Ms Morton had given to a patient.

"The wording was akin to terms of endearment as if Ms Morton was trying to tell the patient that he was very special to her.

"This was completely at odds with a professional relationship and Ms Morton's remark 'now eat this card' was sending a message to the patient that she knew that this action completely flouted trust policy and she was seeking the patient's collusion in this regard.

"The wording of the card indicated that Morton had a special relationship with the patient which was of a personal nature.

"From other cases I've seen actions of this kind can lead to boundary violations of a more serious nature that can include criminal offences."

The security breach came just months after a friend and colleague who she had closely mentored resigned when a letter she had penned for another inmate was handed to staff.

The note revealed the therapy assistant, who has not been named, had an inappropriate relationship with the detained man, who accused her of having sex with him and another patient.

In the bombshell revelation he demanded an HIV test, fearing the sexual indiscretion could have led to him contracting the disease.

The relationship had been developing since Christmas 2009 under Ms Morton's nose while she was supposed to be mentoring her, and the pair had repeated conversations about stopping contact between them.

However, the carer was only moved in the summer of 2010 when another post became available on a different ward.

At the time the patient broke his silence there were said to be two copies of the note, one was held by managers while the other was thought to have been eaten by the recipient in order to dispose of it.

The instruction to "eat this card" contained in Ms Morton's own note was said to be a sign that she knew her actions were wrong and wanted him to dispose of the evidence.

During disciplinary interviews she admitted what she did was wrong but explained it by saying she was upset about the suspension of her manager, who had faced internal action over failures relating to the sex scandal.

Ms Morton justified venturing into bedrooms alone up to four times by saying she was a skilled martial artist and could handle herself, the tribunal, sitting in Reading, Berkshire, heard.

Among the barrage of allegations levelled at her was the claim she regularly swore back at inmates when they used four letter words towards her.

Ms Morton, from Reading, Berks., was fired after a disciplinary hearing on May 26 last year.

The hearing continues.