A VICTIM of sexual assault has won a five-figure payout from a hospital after she was attacked by one of its care workers.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, developed a relationship with Ian Henshaw, a mental health assistant, during the two occasions she was admitted to the Centurion Mental Health Centre in Chichester as a patient in 2009.
She had made several attempts on her life and was considered vulnerable.
During her second admission at the centre, the relationship became physical, even though Henshaw told her he was banned from sexual relationships with patients.
He would send the Chichester woman text messages and visit her at home, but he continued to urge her to keep their relationship secret.
But when she fell pregnant with his child and then miscarried, she told her social worker about the relationship.
When she admitted to Henshaw what she had done, he physically assaulted her.
He was arrested for common assault and subsequently for engaging in a sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder.
He was dismissed from his job, and in March 2011 was jailed for 15 months.
He was placed on the sex offenders register and disqualified from working with children.
The woman’s legal claim against Sussex Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Centurion Centre, was settled for an undisclosed sum in five figures.
Her lawyer Tracey Emmott, a specialist in sexual abuse claims, said the woman has tried to move on since, and added: ‘My client required the highest level of sensitivity and care because of her vulnerable nature.
‘She was in no state to be able to be able to fight off Henshaw’s advances and he clearly realised that.
‘He was also perfectly well aware of what the consequences for him would be if the relationship ever came out. So he cynically embroiled my client in a conspiracy of silence over their affair.
‘The settlement is appropriate, given what my client has had to endure, and we can only wish her well.’