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Senior NHS nurse tormented mentally ill patients by performing Nazi goose-step and groped a male colleague
Stephen Johnson, 54, was found guilty of eight allegations of misconductJohnson, from Colchester, Essex, reduced a patient who suffered from delusions that he was Adolf Hitler to tearsHe shouted 'Heil Hitler' while Polish and Jewish colleagues watched
He also groped a male colleague and touched a male patient's genitalsThe deputy ward manager sent pornographic images to a female co-worker
17:14 GMT, 18 December 2012
Punishment: Nurse Stephen Johnson faces being struck off for his treatment of mentally ill patients
A senior nurse who goose-stepped around a room of mentally ill patients while performing Nazi salutes faces being struck off.
Stephen Johnson put a finger under his nose to represent
a Hitler moustache and marched around the NHS care home in Essex like Basil Fawlty in the comedy classic Fawlty Towers.
He reduced a patient who suffered from delusions that he was Adolf Hitler to tears.
The patient – identified as Patient C – had a strange obsession with Nazi Germany and suffered from hallucinations.
encouraged him to live out his fantasy by performing the
salutes made famous by the Nazi regime and shouting 'Heil Hitler', a
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel found.
The nurse’s behaviour came to light
when bosses at the North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
investigated a seven-month campaign of sexual harassment against a
Polish colleague, known only as Miss A.
former deputy ward manager, who had worked at Severalls House in Colchester for more than two decades, made the Nazi salutes in front of Miss A and a male Jewish colleague, known as Mr D.
Johnson, 54, flies a St George’s flag from his home in
yesterday found guilty of eight allegations of misconduct in 2008 and
He sent explicit messages to the Miss A, groped Mr D and made racist remarks, and repeatedly grabbed a male patient's genitals.
Karen Russell, who still works at the
ward, told the hearing: ‘He would mimic the patient who had been
doing the Nazi salutes.
‘He would be marching up and down saluting and shouting.'
She said he would raise his arm to a Nazi salute with a finger below her nose.
Guilt: A panel at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, pictured, found Stephen Johnson, 54, guilty of eight allegations of misconduct in 2008 and 2009
She added: ‘It would wind [patient C] up and he would cry. He [Johnson] would do the baiting.’
Miss Russell told the hearing that the patient had an obsession
with Nazi Germany and would suffer hallucinations.
She added: ‘The patient would often speak in a German accent and go on about Nazi Germany. He’d say he was Adolf Hitler.’
Chris Renehan, the clinical manager at the time, told the panel Johnson would incite the patient to shout ‘Heil Hitler’.
Mr Renehan, who now works at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, added: ‘Mr Johnson was very black and white.
‘He either liked you or he didn’t – and that tended to be people that were ethnic minority or people not English.
‘He was very English. Very British.’
He also performed the role of a German soldier in front of Miss A, which she was said to find ‘particularly offensive as she is Polish, and associations with the Second World War have particularly offensive significance to her.’
Johnson, who lives in a quiet cul de sac in Great Horkesley, Colchester, called Mr D by the names of Arab terrorist organisations, Hezbollah and Hamas, and once said to him, ‘BNP go home’.
The male care assistant also reported Johnson to police for grabbing his genitals at work while another colleague
pinned his arms behind his back.
Torment: Johnson reduced a patient who suffered from delusions that he was Adolf Hitler, pictured, to tears
Johnson denied the charges, accusing colleagues of conspiring against him and making him a scapegoat.
But James Spencer, chair of the NMC panel, said: 'The panel is not
satisfied that any of the witnesses have colluded, that Mr Johnson has
been made a scapegoat or accused of any of these things for any reason
other than the facts included in the charges.'
The panel also found Johnson guilty of grabbing another patient's genitals on an almost daily basis.
Miss Russell said in a
statement: 'Mr Johnson would stand facing him and hold the patient's
genitals through his clothing.
'Mr Johnson would grab the patient's genitals all the time, I would say this happened on a nearly daily basis.
'He did it to make people laugh, the staff would laugh.'
Johnson's campaign of harassment began just three weeks
after Miss A joined Severalls House, after the pair took a
patient on a trip to London.
'Mr Johnson sent a pornographic photograph of a woman's vagina', said Mr Unwin.
'She found this disgusting, showed the
picture to her boyfriend, and then deleted it. She replied to Mr
Johnson, telling him to grow up.'
But Johnson continued to bombard her with messages, saying, 'You sexy momma, I love you.'
He added: 'Don't you give up on me' and 'I want to complete you 🙂 xxxxx', and repeatedly tried to call her at midnight.
'Mr Johnson himself performed a Nazi salute while in her presence and while looking at her,' added Mr Unwin.
'She found this particularly offensive
as she is Polish, and associations with the Second World War have
particularly offensive significance to her.'
'Miss A felt threatened by his conduct
and felt that if she didn't tell Mr Johnson what he wanted to hear he
would make her life at work very difficult.'
Unacceptable: Johnson's tasteless behaviour is reminiscent of a memorable scene in Fawlty Towers in which Basil Fawlty goose-steps around his hotel
The tribunal heard the sexual
texts stopped when Johnson's wife, who also works at the trust, saw
a message and called Miss A to confront her.
After Miss A reported Johnson's advances, Mr D came forward to report the deputy ward manager
for groping him while on duty.
Mr D described one incident in October
2008 when Johnson and another member of staff allegedly ambushed him
while he was looking through a colleague's holiday photos.
He said he was standing outside Severalls House, when Johnson and the male member of staff 'jumped' on him.
'He (the other male) grabbed both my hands behind my back, Mr Johnson grabbed my genitals outside of my clothes,' he said.
panel was told that the staff nurse Mr D had been speaking to at the
time was still present and took a photograph of the incident.
'It is not acceptable in my country or my culture,' said Mr D. 'I was very offended and felt violated.
'Mr Johnson had no respect for any staff members at Severalls House.'
Mr D told the panel the insults happened almost every shift at the care home.
was arrested by police and questioned on suspicion of groping Mr D in
January 2010, but was later released without charge.
Johnson resigned from the trust in August 2010 before a full disciplinary process could take place.
He admitted sending the texts to Miss A, but claimed it was part of a two-way consensual conversation.
said the thought of being in the same building as Mr D 'makes me feel
sick', and did not attend the central London hearing.
Johnson's fitness to practice was later found to be impaired by reason of misconduct at the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Panel chair James Spencer said: 'It is unlikely Mr Johnson would have treated a patient without a mental health disability in this manner and his conduct amounts to discrimination on the basis of disability.
'He abused his senior position and did not treat patients or staff with respect or dignity.
'The panel has determined that Mr Johnson's fitness to practice is impaired by reason of his misconduct.'
The panel will now consider what sanction to impose upon Johnson.