A care worker has been jailed for sexually touching a mentally ill resident at a Croydon home.

Nigel Webster, 41, from Morden, was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment after being found guilty of intentionally touching a person he knew, or could reasonably expected to have known to have a mental disorder, at Woodleigh Community in Elmwood Road, Croydon, between May 20 and July 23, 2004.

Ten charges were brought against Webster but he was only convicted of one of them.

Webster also pleaded guilty to 16 counts of having indecent photographs of children, which were found on his home computer, for which he was sentenced to three months. They will run concurrently with his eight-month term.

In a High Court ruling last Thursday Webster had an 18-month suspension from practising nursing extended by a further year after an application by the Nursing and Midwifery Council was agreed.

At the trial last Wednesday Croydon Crown Court heard how the manager of Woodleigh Community received complaints in 2004 that Webster had massaged one of the men living at the home while washing him and had got him to strip naked.

It was claimed that he had touched the resident's genitals and had shown him pornographic material of two men performing oral sex.

When giving evidence Webster denied any wrongdoing and said he had not washed the resident's genitals and that the man had done it himself. He also denied showing him pornography.

Defence solicitor Peter Dahlson told the court that a psychiatrist considered Webster not to be a potential danger to the public.

Judge Stephen Waller rejected any mitigation and jailed the former care worker.

Mr Waller said: "Your victim was a very young, vulnerable patient and you were his care worker. It was a grave breach of trust, although I accept that it was not sexual activity of the most serious type and that it happened only once.

"The courts have a duty to protect the vulnerable and they can only do that by passing sentences with a deterrent element, so as to protect those who cannot protect themselves."

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