Julie Porthouse has appeared in court for trials after she was caught baring her breasts and performing sexual acts on a patient. In her defense, the accused nurse says she was “providing emotional support” to the male patient.
Image: Julie Porthouse
According to a report from The Mirror, the accused nurse admitted going beyond her boundaries as a hospital staff but adds that she was simply sympathizing with the man after one of her patients had committed suicide.
However, Julie Porthouse argues that she never exposed her breasts, showed off the tattoo on her lower back or gave the patient oral sex after visiting the man at his home.
She also denied leaving an earring behind in his bedroom, according to the report.
Julie is a community psychiatric nurse who worked for Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at the time of the alleged affair which occurred between May 2012 and September 2012.
Porthouse told the Nursing and Midwifery Council how she cried uncontrollably after she was accused of having an affair with the man, referred to as Service User A.
It was her manager Heather Meek, who made the claims against her by asking in anger where she had been.
‘Where have you been, out gallivanting?’ Meek asked Julie, who explained she had been in the assessment clinic.
Ben Rich, another official who tend to have supported Meeks accusation on the nurse, asked: “Why didn’t you say you were with Service User A?”
According to Judie, her response to the embarrassing questions was: “I don’t know, I can only think she was just asking about the whole day.”
Meanwhile, Julie didn’t know that her colleaques all had the same opinion about her. They felt it was clearly written all over her, reflecting more on her clothes that she was having a sexual affair.
The accused nurse continued in her explanation that she recalls another colleague, Merlina Spring, then asking to speak to her: “She just kept repeating ‘it’s not good, it’s not good’.
“She said, ‘you know everybody is talking about your dress’. She said, ‘there’s gossip in the team that you are having an affair’.
“I was totally shocked. I said, ‘You think all this time I have been out having an affair? Why? Because you couldn’t see where I am and my dress style has improved?
“I said something along the lines of ‘that’s quite slanderous’.
“I’ve been sitting across from a paranoid schizophrenic , I haven’t been doing anything other than that.
“I felt extremely emotional. I started to cry and I said ‘I’m going to go home now.”
According to the defendant, Ms Spring called to inform her the following day that her scheduled appointment with Service User A, had been canceled.
In Julie’s words: “I felt unable to voice my concern at lying to a service user. It had taken months to build up trust with him.
“I felt backed into a corner, that I had to agree to what was being said because of this gossip.
“I didn’t agree with the decision I had been given. I thought it was at least polite to contact A on the Wednesday to let him know I wouldn’t be attending on the Friday.”
The following day, Julie called the male patient to inform him that she wouldn’t be available for appointments on Friday. After the information was relayed, she had a meeting with hospital officials – Heather Meek and Gretl Bruce
She said: “I was sitting there thinking what’s all about? I come in the room, sit down and the next thing I know she’s asking me ‘are you having a sexual relationship with Service User A?’
“I said: ‘No, that’s awful.’ She said ‘Well, you have been seeing him an awful lot.’
“There were various other things she was saying, the way your dressing has changed, gossip in the team, Merlina isn’t putting them together, but I am. I just burst into tears.”
The court trial got messy after Service User A’s evidence was tendered.
The male patient had testified that he was having a sexual affair with the nurse, and Julie’s earring which she forgot at the man’s house was shown to her.
Surprised Judie said: “On a couple of occasions, Service User A would run through storylines with me.
“Part of his recovery was getting back into his second book. He would tell me storylines and ask me ‘what do I think of this?’
“One particular day he asked me whether I had left an earring at a man’s house and I said ‘no, I haven’t maybe, if I was younger I might have done,’ that kind of thing.
“It was just meant as a kind of joke, not meant as anything other than that, but obviously I can see how it would appear it is.
“I texted, ‘when will I pick up the earring?’ and he said, ‘I have already pawned it’. I texted back something like ‘good comeback’.
Image: Julie Portman
Mr Rich then asked Julie why she had a prolonged and excessive contact with the male patient.
She said: “I think I was very anxious to ensure I provided him with enough support.
“When I was told I hadn’t provided that in the first case, and because there were real similarities and the death of his father, I put them together and thought that if I had more contact I would support him more.”
Rebecca Richardson, for the NMC, asked: “Do you accept increased level of contact could lead to cycle of dependence being created?”
Porthouse replied: “Yes.”
Ms Richardson asked if there were similarities between Service User A and her former patient who had committed suicide?
Julie replied: “Yes, in particular the nationality and the recent death of the father.
“When the outcome of a disciplinary is that you haven’t provided enough support, it does effect the support you would give to other people, because you think that you feel responsible for somebody ending their life.”
Ms Richardson asked: “Did you see Service User A as opportunity to correct some of the mistakes you made?”
Julie replied: “I never consciously thought that, I just wanted to help his improve his quality of life, that’s all I have ever wanted to do. I always thought of him as a service user.
“I did muddy the water with boundaries, I do agree. I can’t sit here and say that I didn’t because I did.”
Ms Richardson asked: “Do you think he was manipulating you into caring for him?”
Julie replied: “I don’t know. I have only ever tried to survive this ordeal, think about what can I do better. I haven’t really thought about Service User A’s motivations.”
In further explanations, she said it was all about trying to “empower” the patient.
Ms Richardson asked: “Did that empowerment extend to wanting to make him feel attractive?”
Julie replied: “No, our relationship was never on a sexual level.”
Asked about a visit she made to the patient’s home she said: “I didn’t mean to pop in, I was to going to put it [paperwork] in his letterbox.”
Ms Richardson continued: “He was tense and you were going to help him relax. This was in the context of ongoing discussion about attraction.”
Julie replied: “I never sought out the compliments he gave me, he just spontaneously gave them to me.”
Ms Richardson said: “This progressed to the bedroom.”
Julie said: “No, that never happened.”
Ms Richardson continued: “This went further, you masturbated him and gave him oral sex. You also exposed your breasts and that’s how he became aware that you had a tattoo on your lower back.
“That’s also how you left an earring, that’s how it came to be in his bedroom.”
Julie simply responded: “That’s not true.”
In the end, Julie Porthouse, who was present at the court hearing and had a legal representative, admitted to having an excessive contact with the male patient but denies all other charges.
The case is unfolding as the court hearing continues.