A mental health nurse has been struck off the register over allegations he sexually assaulted a vulnerable teenage patient.

Choon Nock Khek is alleged to have abused a 16-year-old girl while she was being cared for at The Priory in Chelmsford.

The patient alleges Mr Khek put his hands down her top, penetrated her with his fingers, placed her hands on his trousers and kissed her on the mouth and neck.

Mr Khek denies the allegations, which first came to light in 2018.

The alleged incident happened in either December 2003 or January 2004, when other members of staff were absent from the hospital ward as they were attending a rehab trip with other patients.

In a statement submitted to a committee hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the patient said: “All the members of staff and the patients left about 3pm.

“A member of staff, who was due to do the twilight shift, came in early to go to the pantomime as well.

“The way it worked out was that the only people left on the ward were myself and (Mr Khek).

"I believe he viewed this as a window of opportunity to be alone with me.”

The panel overseeing the hearing said in its report that it found the patient’s account of the alleged abuse consistent and credible.

It was also told by the patient herself that the alleged incident left her "shocked, astounded, confused and frightened".

She also described feeling like she "had no self-worth" and did not think that she would be believed if she told someone about the alleged incident.

Further evidence from another patient at the hospital was submitted to the committee, which eventually found Mr Khek had “acted in a way that fell significantly short of the expected standard of a nurse”.

It had also heard allegations of another incident in September 2003 in which Mr Khek told the patient he loved her, wanted to “save her” and was planning on taking her on a romantic trip to London.

Mr Khek, who is now retired, did not attend the hearing, adding: “I am not attending because the allegation did not happen and I have supported this with my statement during my police interview and also my written response.”

After the four-day hearing, the panel opted to strike Mr Khek off the register, meaning he would be unable to work as a nurse should he come out of retirement.

A report outlining the panel’s decision, adds: “The appropriate and proportionate sanction is that of a striking-off order.

“Having regard to the effect of Mr Khek’s actions in bringing the profession into disrepute by adversely affecting the public’s view of how a registered nurse should conduct himself, the panel has concluded that nothing short of this would be sufficient in this case.

“The panel considered that this order was necessary to mark the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession, and to send to the public and the profession a clear message about the standard of behaviour required of a registered nurse.”