Trial begins of Goodmayes Hospital student nurse accused of raping two patients

The trial has begun of a Walthamstow student nurse accused of raping two vulnerable patients at his place of work.

Ige Apata, 43, worked at Goodmayes Hospital, a mental health facility in Redbridge, and is alleged to have attacked two female in-patients in February and March last year.

At his trial opening today, jurors heard Apata used his staff key card to sneak into the women’s rooms and force them to perform sex acts, including once shortly after a suicide attempt.

Apata denies all allegations and, in a police interview on March 21, claimed one of the women was blackmailing him after making sexual advances towards him.

Apata’s first alleged victim told jurors she “froze” during the assault and feared he would “inject” her to attack her again.

The court heard she borrowed a friend’s phone and called police repeatedly but that “no one followed it up” until she eventually told a trusted member of staff.

In a police interview recorded at the hospital on March 21, a month after the alleged rape, she told police Apata’s job was to let patients in and out of their rooms.

She said: “He’s come in behind me and locked the door. He was up against the actual table and pushed me toward him so that I was in front of him.

“He kept watching out the window to see if anyone was coming through the door. He started touching me and the upper part of my body.”

She added that she “froze” when he exposed himself and felt she should “comply” until she could get out of the situation.

She said: “I asked him if he was in tomorrow, I think that was me thinking ‘am I going to be safe? Or is something worse going to happen to me?’.

“He was acting like everything was OK, like it was a consensual relationship, like we had known each other for a long time, then he walked out. I felt dirty, ashamed, like I had been tarnished.”

Prosecutor Robert Evans alleged the second woman was attacked in her room on March 4 last year and again on the following day, despite having attempted to take her own life earlier that day.

Later, while this woman was on leave from the hospital, Mr Evans claimed Apata arranged to meet her at an east London tube station to offer her £260 so she wouldn’t report him.

Mr Evans said: “The defendant says that nothing happened with the first woman and, with the second woman, he says it was all intended by her.

“He says he didn’t want her advances and that she completely made it up, possibly for money.

“We say they didn’t make this up, this happened exactly as we said, he was taking advantage of them.”

The first woman said she didn’t initially report the incident to staff because she felt their manner was “quite aggressive”, adding that a later request for an STD test was ignored.

She borrowed a friend’s phone to call police three times but claimed “no one followed it up”.

However, after meeting the second alleged victim in another ward, she told a trusted member of staff what had happened and called the police. The call handler said he would “make some enquiries” but did not call her back.

She became increasingly upset when no one returned her call and called the police again later that evening. Officers finally attended the hospital the next day to investigate and take both women’s statements.

Apata, of Higham Hill Road, denies two counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault.

He remains in custody while the trial continues.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter