NZ ambulance officer guilty of sex abuse

A New Zealand court has convicted a former St John Ambulance officer on eight sexual offences committed against four female patients in the back of his ambulance.


A Napier District Court jury took three hours on Thursday to reach a unanimous verdict on charges against Christopher King that included stupefying a teenager and making intimate visual recordings of her genital area after administering entonox, a pain-relief gas, during an unscheduled stopover on the way to a Hawke’s Bay medical centre on July 24 last year.

He was also convicted of indecently assaulting two other women and on four charges of sexual violation, one involving the teenager, who was 15 at the time.

King, 48, was remanded in custody until December 18 for sentencing.

In his summing up, Judge Geoff Rea told the jury King’s defence to all charges was that the offences did not happen.

However, a significant element of the allegations was that they involved four separate complainants who were not known to each other.

Each had dialled 111 because they were unwell, physically or mentally, and therefore in a vulnerable state.

Judge Rea said although there was another officer driving the ambulance in several of the incidents, King had been alone in the back of the ambulance with the complainants when the assaults took place.

The teenager had complained to medical centre staff when she got out of the ambulance and another young woman had told her mother about his offending when she got to hospital, but the pair did not make a formal complaint.

One woman complained in 2010 but after an initial police investigation, her complaint was not pursued.

After the verdict, police thanked the women for coming forward and said the outcome was a relief for the victims.

“This has obviously been a very stressful time for these women and we acknowledged the courage it has taken to give evidence in court,” Detective Grant Jarvis said.

“We appreciate what they have done to enable us to bring this man to justice.”