Mental health nurse could face jail over relationship with patient

Jill McLaren admitted engaging in sexual activity with the man she cared for at the facility in Glasgow.

Glasgow mental health nurse could face jail over relationship with patient SNS Group

A nurse at a mental health unit could face jail after she embarked on a sexual relationship with a patient.

Jill McLaren, 37, had secret meetings with the man she knew from the secure clinic in Glasgow where she worked.

This included the mum-of-two taking him to her home under the guise of an escorted Christmas shopping trip.

McLaren pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with the man as she appeared in the dock at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

The crime spanned between July 2018 and September 2019.

Prosecutors accepted not guilty pleas to similar allegations that she was involved with two other patients at the unit.

McLaren, of Greenock, Inverclyde, had her bail continued.

The court heard how the nurse and the man started frequently chatting about their shared love for fitness.

She then told him she started a shift on his ward in order to “see him” and they began to flirt with each other.

Fiscal Lauren Donnelly said: “She went to get chocolates (in the unit) and he followed her. They began kissing in the cupboard.”

The pair agreed that if McLaren wished to speak to him outside of the clinic she should use a different name.

The man was woken up by the nurse one evening during a nightshift as she shone a flashlight into his face.

They again went on to kiss before she carried out a sex act in his bedroom.

The court heard McLaren also bought a birthday card for the man.

It read: “Have a great day, wish I could speak to you, half love you ha ha xx”.

McLaren went on to go with him on an outing for him to apparently buy Christmas gifts.

But, they instead ended up at her house where further sexual contact occurred.

The man’s mother became suspicious of a relationship between the pair and was worried for her son.

However, she did not report the matter as there was a possibility he would be moved to a less secure unit.

McLaren left her permanent post at the unit in August 2019 to start another role.

But, she still took several shifts at the clinic and, during one, an argument took place after McLaren suddenly ended the relationship.

However, McLaren later sent another card to the man with “I miss you” written on the front.

The message inside read: “I miss you like crazy. I’m sorry I can’t be the one to make you happy. I’m sorry about anything hurtful that I have said, please don’t think that I didn’t love you, I’m pining after you and it hurts so much.”

A staff nurse at the unit later received a phone call asking for the man and recognised McLaren’s voice.

Miss Donnelly said: “She became suspicious of this and hit re-dial and recognised the number.

“She checked this against the number of the staff and it matched the one held by McLaren.”

The man’s mental health deteriorated after he was made aware that the staff knew about the relationship.

He later confessed to his lawyer and staff at the unit about what was going on.

McLaren ended up being arrested, but made no comment at the time.

Euan Dow, defending, told the court that the nurse had recently left a volatile relationship before starting at the unit.

He said: “She felt low and vulnerable with her partner leaving.

“She felt worthless and lonely. When she started work at the unit she felt flattered by some of the attention that was given to her by the man.

“It is to her shame and regret that she became involved in a wholly inappropriate relationship.

“She knew it wasn’t right and on a number of occasions she identified to the man that it was wrong and should not continue.

“He said if she did end the relationship he would disclose it to her employers and members of the family.”

Sentence was deferred pending background reports until next month by Sheriff Gerard Considine who granted McLaren bail and put her on the sex offenders register.

He said: “Clearly this was a gross breach of trust and the charge you pled guilty to are extremely serious.

“The law protects people such as the man in this case.

“Be in no doubt, custody is in the uppermost of my mind.”

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