United Kingdom

Nurse and ex police volunteer suspended after for lying about son's whereabouts

Karen Ravenscroft, who was a volunteer for Wiltshire Police, has been suspended from her nursing job for 12 months after she lied about her son's whereabouts to try and help him escape a speeding ticket

A nurse and former special inspector has been suspended for 12 months after she lied about her son's whereabouts to try and help him escape a speeding ticket.

Karen Ravenscroft, who was volunteering for Wiltshire Police, was jailed for five months in 2019 for perverting the course of justice, after 'tearfully' admitting she had falsified documents.

Now, a tribunal has ruled she must be suspended from nursing for the deception, but decided against striking her from the register permanently because of her 'unblemished' 44-year-long nursing career.

It added that the 'ordeal of prison' will serve as a daily reminder to Ravenscroft of the 'depths to which she had fallen'.

A Nursing and Midwifery fitness to practise committee, heard that in October 2019, the grandmother and mother-of-two was sent to prison while her son, Andrew, then 36, walked free.

The tribunal heard that the care home manager, while still a special inspector in the police, wrote a letter to Hampshire Constabulary after her son was caught speeding in Southampton in February 2017.

Andrew had already 'unsuccessfully' tried to 'lay the blame at his sister's door', and when she refused to go along with it he tried to convince his mum to lie for him.

Ravenscroft, 61, agreed to cover for him and wrote a letter stating that her son had been having a business meeting at her work place, Bassett House Care Home, Wiltshire on the day of the speeding offence.

She even made a false entry in the care home's visitor book saying that Andrew had arrived at 8.55am - just three minutes before the car had been caught speeding.

The tribunal heard that the care home manager, while still a special inspector in the police, wrote a letter to Hampshire Constabulary after her son was caught speeding in Southampton in February 2017

Two months later, police officers went to question Ravenscroft and she 'quickly became tearful' before admitting she had falsified documents.

During her trial, Caighli Taylor, prosecuting, said Ravenscroft explained to officers she was a special constable and 'offered to resign right then and there'. 

A short while later her son called the police claiming he had 'muddled the dates' and finally accepted he was the driver.

Despite his admission he was never prosecuted or investigated for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

At Swindon Crown Court, Wiltshire, his mum was sentenced to five months in prison after pleading guilty.

Ravenscroft told officers early on in their investigation that she intended to retire from her role as a volunteer police officer, which she had done for more than 14 years.

Ravenscroft agreed to cover for her son and wrote a letter stating that he had been having a business meeting at her work place, Bassett House Care Home in Wiltshire (pictured) on the day of the speeding offence

Ravenscroft had risen to the rank of inspector as a member of the special constabulary after beginning her career in Merseyside where she patrolled the grounds of the hospital.

The tribunal considered that the judge at her sentencing had said: 'I accept that you have strong personal mitigation, and I accept that there is a reasonable prospect of rehabilitation.'

Therefore, the tribunal decided that a suspension would be more appropriate than a striking off order.

It concluded: 'As a matter of ordinary inference, it can be assumed that a public trial of this nature would have been a salutary lesson, which will probably register with [her] for the rest of her life.

'No doubt, the ordeal of prison itself presented a daily reminder to [her] of the depths to which she had fallen.'

The tribunal added: 'In times of national need, and acutely in the context of the coronavirus, it would seem that there is in fact a strong public interest in the retention of such managers on the register to continue in the management and care of care homes.

'She will not escape without censure, the publicity of the original imprisonment and no doubt the suspension order will be a strong reminder to her of the standards of the profession and serious departure from them.

'At a review, a Panel would be able to assess how her insight has matured.'

Ravenscroft was ultimately suspended for a period of 12 months.

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