Nurses voice fears after sexual assault at hospital

The Mortuary area at Craigavon Area Hospital. INPT03-208
The Mortuary area at Craigavon Area Hospital. INPT03-208

Nurses are fearing for their safety after a colleague was sexually assaulted in a car park at Craigavon Hospital.

Police are hunting for two men following the assault on a 33-year-old woman shortly before 8pm on Wednesday, January 8. She was walking from a car park near the mortuary when she became aware of two men, one of whom sexually assaulted her.

A nurse at Craigavon called for the barrier at the car park in front of the hospital to be open at night so nurses can park safely. She said nurses arriving for night duty had already been frightened of parking at the back of the hospital prior to the assault.

“All the girls are scared. They are literally running from their cars in the back car park to the door,” she said. “I am very annoyed and afraid. When we are going on night duty we are even more afraid. It is so dark we wouldn’t stand a chance. There are girls waiting in their cars for other colleagues to arrive so they can walk to the entrance together.”

Police have issued descriptions of both men. The first man is described as foreign, possibly Eastern European, 30 to 40 years old, about 5ft 5in or 6in tall with a shaven head.

He was wearing a hoody or jacket which was red or a similar colour. The second man is described as being foreign, possibly Eastern European, 30 to 40 years old, approximately 5ft 8in tall, of slim build with dark, short hair and swarthy skin.

He was wearing a dark, waist length jacket with a zip on front and poppers/buttons at the wrists. He spoke in broken English.

A hospital spokesperson said, “The Trust will take all reasonable steps to improve security. Extra security measures have been put in place on the site including extra patrols by PSNI and by a private security contractor employed by the Trust.

“Staff have been made aware there has been an incident and advised to be extra vigilant.”

Debbie Burns, Southern Trust interim director of acute services, said, “There has been significant investment of approximately £200,000 in the last one to two years to improve security on the hospital site including new lighting, removal of shrubbery, CCTV and upgrading footpaths as part of the redevelopment of car parks at Craigavon. We have no record of this type of incident happening before on this site.”

Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said, “I am calling on those in charge to carry out an urgent risk assessment.”

Upper Bann David Simpson MP said, “The Trust have assured me that everything is being done to reassure the victim and they are working closely with the PSNI.”