A FORMER paramedic accused of sexually touching a child and giving him pain relief gas which he stole from his employer has been found by a tribunal to have sent more than 38,000 messages to the boy during a 10-month period, including many of a ‘lewd and ‘sexual’ nature.

Nicholas Tyrrell was found by a Health and Care Professional tribunal to have engaged in sexual activity with himself in the presence of a child, referred to as Child A, and to have sexually touched the child.

The 61-year-old, who was a paramedic with South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB) which covers areas including Hook, was arrested in November 2016 following an allegation of inappropriate conduct towards a child.

Police investigated allegations that Tyrrell had groomed two 14-year-old boys.

It was also alleged that he administered the pain relief gas Entonox to Child A at a fireworks party, which Tyrrell was accused of stealing from his employer.

He pleaded not guilty to engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child; sexual assault; and two counts of theft from SECAMB. Tyrrell was found not guilty at a trial at Winchester Crown Court in 2018.

However, the tribunal panel has proved various allegations against the former paramedic after hearing evidence from witnesses.

This included that he “engaged in inappropriate physical contact with Child A” by putting his hand on the child’s genitals, on top of his trousers.

The tribunal heard that Child A first met Tyrrell when he was 10-years-old.

The pair met at a Christmas event held at the ambulance station where Tyrrell worked and was playing Father Christmas.

The child spoke to him about his ambition to become a paramedic.

The tribunal heard that Tyrell requested to be friends with the child on Facebook, and they began to chat on the social media site.

In a statement made by Child A to SECAMB in 2017, he said the pair had been at McDonalds when Tyrrell put his hand on his penis over his trousers.

He said: “He left his hand there for a few seconds and deliberately squeezed it. I was totally embarrassed and just didn’t know what to do.”

The panel concluded that Tyrrell stole equipment and Entonox from his employer and allowed Child A to self-administer the gas without a clinical need.

It also found Tyrrell had engaged in sexual activity with himself in the presence of a child.

Child A said in a statement that Tyrrell supported his body and head while he took the Entonox, which made him “unaware of what was happening”.

“I remember it being scary,” he said, adding: “The next I remember was coming round and I was sat on a chair and Nicholas Tyrrell was stood in front of me with his hand/s down his trousers and appeared to be playing with himself. It didn’t register what was happening at first but then I couldn’t believe it.”

Tyrrell admitted to sending various message at the tribunal, which were found by the panel to be “overtly sexual”. These included references to sex acts and porn, while one asked whether he should get the child a sex toy and lube for Christmas.

He referred to Child A as his ‘pup’ and told him he loved him, with messages presented to the tribunal including: “You will start as my puppy and I will be your puppy walker.”

The tribunal heard that Child A told Tyrrell he was gay, and he later began dating another child, referred to as Child B at the tribunal.

Tyrrell became friends with Child B on Facebook and they too began talking, the tribunal heard.

The panel heard that Child A and Tyrrell shared around 38,000 messages during a 10-month period in 2016, including ones which contained sexually explicit content.

Child A’s parents became concerned about his relationship with Tyrrell and insisted on looking at his mobile phone, which is when they discovered the messages and contacted the police.

The panel concluded that the messages were “part of a deliberate and sustained pattern of escalating behaviour by Mr Tyrell to test Child A’s susceptibility to sexual suggestion”.

It added: “There was an increasing intimacy and intensity in the messages with increasing sexual references.”

The panel described the messages as “lewd and sexual”.

It also found that Tyrrell sent messages to Child B which were “inappropriate and/or sexual nature”.

The panel concluded that Tyrrell was motivated “in pursuit of a sexual relationship with Child A and in pursuit of sexual gratification”.

The tribunal heard that Tyrrell also messaged Child A about call-outs with the ambulance service.

This included him sending photographs of car accidents and making comments about service users.

The panel found Tyrrell did send these messages and its report said: “These messages criticise and make jokes about service users and mock their suffering and health conditions.”

It added: “The messages are deeply inappropriate and demonstrate a profound lack of personal and professional judgement by Mr Tyrrell. The panel found that these messages showed a profound lack of concern and compassion for service users.”

Tyrrell apologised at the tribunal to the children and families concerned, saying he had been “provoked” and had “only wanted to help the community and help someone who had wanted to be a paramedic”.

He claimed that some of the messages were not genuine and had been “maliciously fabricated” by Child A’s parent. He also disagreed with the number allegedly sent.

The panel rejected his evidence.

The panel said it was “mindful” that Tyrrell was an “adult in a position of trust, authority and power”, adding that there was a “significant and inherent power imbalance”.

Tyrrell accepted that some messages were inappropriate and sexual but said there was no sexual gratification or sexual motivation involved.

Tyrrell told the tribunal he had made a “monumental mistake” for which he was now paying the price.

He denied having ever intended any of his conduct to be sexual but admitted that some jokes were “to the mark” and apologised for this.

The tribunal adjourned on April 29 and is yet to decide whether Tyrrell’s fitness to practise is impaired.

He was given an interim suspension in December 2017 which is still in place.

The panel will now reconvene at a later date to consider whether Tyrrell's actions constitute professional misconduct, and to consider any evidence regarding events since the time of the allegations that were will subsequently decide what sanctions, if any, will be taken against him.

A spokesperson for SECAMB said Tyrrell has left the ambulance service and added: "We took the matter extremely seriously and took appropriate action at the time."

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