A short-sighted grandfather has been ordered to sign the sex offender’s register after he touched a nurse’s breast – claiming he was only reading the name badge on her uniform.
Widower Andrew Sington, 76, who was compared to the short-sighted 1950s cartoon character ‘Mr Magoo’ by his own lawyer, was ordered to sign the register for five years at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court.
Sington, who was not wearing his glasses at the time of the incident, was visiting someone with his partner in hospital when he reached over and pulled at the nurse’s fleece.
In view of his partner, the patient and hospital staff, Sington touched the nurse’s left breast, then said: ‘I am sorry I didn’t mean to touch your boob, I was just checking your name.’
Andrew Sington, 76, was ordered to pay £500 and sign his name in the sex offender’s register after he touched a nurse’s breast ‘whilst trying to read her name badge’
The woman who is in her 40s and who cannot be named later reported the incident to senior colleagues and was said to be in a state ‘shock and disbelief.’
Sington was also ordered to complete a 12-month community order and abide by a 7pm-7am curfew for eight weeks.
He will further have to complete 35 days of rehabilitation activity and £1,030 in costs and a victim surcharge. He must also pay £500 compensation to the victim.
Sington was convicted of sexual assault at an earlier hearing.
The incident which was captured on hospital CCTV cameras occurred in November last year when Sington and his partner were visiting her daughter at a hospital near Liverpool.
The court heard the victim came into a room where the three were sitting, introduced herself and Sington patted her arm.
The nurse told the the court: ‘Some people are quite tactile and I didn’t think anything of that. I just sat down and there was some general conversation. It was about 30 minutes into the visit when the patient was becoming quite restless and we decided to take her back to the ward.
Sington’s lawyer Mike Braham said: ‘He has told the court that he was short sighted and was not wearing his spectacles. Clearly, he is a little eccentric’
‘We were standing, preparing to leave and close to the door and the patient’s mum was talking about when she would next visit. Mr Sington then put his arm across from the right and touched me on my left breast.
‘I had my NHS fleece on which had the NHS logo and rainbow motif on the left side. He pulled the fleece and made a comment such as ”I am sorry, I didn’t mean to touch your boob, I was checking your name.”
‘My name was embroidered on the right side of my fleece in white, the NHS logo and rainbow were on the left. The name was clearly visible.
‘I was very shocked. I remember my colleague saying ”Her name is on the other side. She has already told you what her name is.”
‘He touched it enough for me to feel it. It was a pull at the fleece as if trying to pull the fleece towards him but his hand was on my breast.
‘I just froze, I was shocked. It was the last thing I expected to happen.’
The nurse said that following the incident, the visitors said goodbye to the patient and that she spoke to the patient’s mother. She also had a recollection of Mr Sington touching her arm again as they left the room.
The nurse said: ‘I remember walking away back to the ward and thinking, ”Did that really just happen? Have I really just been touched?” It took me a few minutes to process.
‘It was the way I was touched, it was the comment afterwards, ”Sorry I didn’t touch your boob.” It was the way he said it.’
Sington was convicted of sexual assault and ordered to pay £500, sign the Sex Offender register, complete a 12-month community order and abide by a 7pm-7am curfew for eight weeks
A colleague of the nurse told the hearing: ‘I clearly saw that he made a grab in the chest area then made a comment, ”Have I touched your boob?”. He said that he was checking for a name and I said: ”You already know her name because she introduced herself. The name is not on that part of her fleece..”
‘I could see that the nurse was awkward about what had happened and shocked so I felt that I had to intervene.’
In police interview Sington was to have got flustered with the officers, and at one stage couldn’t remember the name of his own partner.
When asked what prompted him to say, ‘I did not touch your boob,’ he replied: ‘Because I looked and I couldn’t see her name. I moved the fleece so that I could see her name. I wanted to refer to her by name as it’s a polite thing to do. A person has a name and we should try to their name. My biggest issue is remembering someone’s name.’
He told the court: ‘I wanted to address the female nurse. I had forgotten her name which is not unusual unfortunately. Therefore, I did make a glance to the right and saw that her colleague’s name was on his chest to the left. Therefore, I looked at the female nurse on the left.
‘There was something there, but I could not see what it was So, with my hand I moved the top of her fleece in order so that I could see her name. That’s when I was accused of touching her breast – but I didn’t touch her breast. I certainly touched her fleece which was loose in front of her.’
Sington said that the nurse had made no objection at the time and made no comments such as ‘Get off me’ or ‘How dare you.’ When asked if he was surprised or shocked to learn of the allegation, he said he was ‘absolutely devastated’. He said that his attendance at the police station had been ‘horrible’ and had made him ill.
‘If I had been intent on fondling her, I would have used my left hand on her right chest,’ he added. ‘But I did not. I wanted to move her fleece. I try to use people’s names as best as I can as its polite. I had forgotten her name and I thought the least embarrassing way was to look at her name tag.’
His lawyer Mike Braham said: ‘Mr Sington is a man of previous good character and is more of a Mr Magoo than a sexual predator. He has told the court that he was short sighted and was not wearing his spectacles. Clearly, he is a little eccentric.’