A married 52-year-old nurse who had a torrid two-year affair with a teenage patient at a secure mental health unit has been jailed for 18 months.
Jeanette McCleod had sex with the 17-year-old boy after seducing him at the NHS-run hospital where she worked for five years.
When police were alerted by the boy’s family, officers swooped on her home in Erdington, Birmingham, where they discovered sexually explicit pictures of the pair on McCleod’s laptop.
The victim was sectioned under the mental health act and admitted to the hospital following a conviction for assault in 2006, the same year the nurse of 22 years began working at the unit, run by an NHS Foundation Trust.
McCleod began the illicit relationship with the 17 year-old patient in 2008 – about a year after she had been caring for him.
Mark Phillips, prosecuting, told the court McCleod had initially started kissing the boy in his room, and this had continued for about a year before they had oral and full sex.
He added that she continued to bombard her lover with messages even after he was released from hospital and became engaged to another woman, who is now expecting his baby.
He said: ‘The defendant was assigned to his care in the hospital and she told the complainant she would like to kiss and cuddle him.
‘In 2009 the relationship became sexual. Later that year she had full sex with the complainant in his bathroom at the hospital, it was she who provided him with a condom.
‘Later he was moved to another ward and then left the hospital. During this time the defendant continued to send him messages.
‘Eventually he met his fiancee, who is now pregnant with his child but the defendant refused to stop contacting him.
‘In October 2011 for example she sent him 398 text messages. When he tried to get her to leave him alone she said she would show his fiancee the naked pictures.
‘When she was arrested by police she made what could be described as a full and frank confession.’
McCleod admitted five counts of sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder by a care worker and was jailed for 18 months yesterday when she appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Sentencing her, Judge Michael Challinor said McCleod had committed a ‘gross breach of trust’.
He told her: ‘You were a mental health worker charged with the care of a young man with an obviously fragile mental state.
‘It is hard to quantify the harm that you did, firstly to the mental health professions, bringing the reputation of your fellow careers into disrepute with a grossly inappropriate sexual relationship.
‘Secondly, and most importantly to the claimant and his family. He was in a secure mental home, he had no choice over whether the relationship should continue or not.
‘Although you were misguided in what you did, I do not see you as a sexual predator as you obviously had some feelings for the boy.
‘Your father had just died, your daughter was ill and you were suffering from clinical depression.
‘The sentence I pass is not one to punish, or to rehabilitate, but a deterrent to those who care for vulnerable people.
‘They should know that if they engage in this kind of behaviour they can expect to go to prison.’
A restraining order banning McCleod from contacting the complainant or his fiancée was also made following concerns the defendant still believes the relationship is ongoing.
McCleod, who wore a green and white dress, black coat, initially grinned as the details of her crimes were read out but broke down in tears when she was jailed.
Marcus Kraehling-Smith, defending, told the court McCleod was suffering from mental health problems herself at the time of the affair.
He said: ‘Her judgement was cloudy, her father had recently died and her daughter had been diagnosed with diabetes. Also her marriage was failing.
‘She now understands that what she did was grossly inappropriate. But she has lost everything, her husband wants to divorce, she will never work in the profession again and she is about to lose her liberty.’