Nicholas E Tyrrell

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA21559

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 24/10/2022 End: 17:00 28/10/2022

Location:

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

Whilst registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, and employed by the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB), as a paramedic, you: 
 
1. Between May 2016 and November 2016, sent text messages and/or Facebook messages to Child A which: 
 
a) Were inappropriate in terms of frequency; and/or
b) Were racially inappropriate and/or discriminatory, including those as outlined in Schedule A; and/or
c) Were inappropriate and/or sexual in nature, including those as  outlined in Schedule B; and/or
d) Contained inappropriate information regarding calls you attended and/or purported to have attended in your role at SECAMB, including those as outlined in Schedule C’
 
2. Between August 2016 and November 2016, sent text and/or Facebook messages to Child B of an inappropriate and/or sexual nature, including those listed in Schedule D.
 
3. Took the following items from your employer without permission:
a) Pulse Oximeter serial number 130700330; 
b) Blood Glucose Machine serial number 1380181 16041.
 
4. In or around the summer of 2016, gave Child A the Pulse Oximeter referred to at particular 3.a) above.
 
5. On or around 05 November 2016, gave Child A the Blood Glucose Machine referred to at particular 3.b) above.
 
6. On or around 05 November 2016, engaged in inappropriate physical contact with Child A, in that you put your hand on Child A’s genitals, on top of his trousers, and squeezed.
 
7. On or around 05 November 2016:
a) took Entonox from your employer without permission;
b) brought Entonox belonging to SECAMB to a fireworks event at Child A’s school without permission and/or clinical justification;
c) administered Entonox to Child A without clinical justification and/or allowed Child A to self-administer Entonox without clinical need
 
8. On or around 05 November 2016, engaged in sexual activity with yourself in the presence of Child A.
 
9. The matters set out at paragraphs 1(a) and/or 1(b) and/or 1(c) and/or 1(d)and/or 2 and/or 6- and/or 7 and/or 8 were sexually motivated.
 
10. The matters set out at paragraphs 3(a)and/or 3(b) and/or 7 (a) and/or (7) (b)were dishonest.
 
11. The matters set out at paragraphs 1-10 amount to misconduct.
 
12. By reason of your misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.
 
Schedule A 
 
Redacted
 
Schedule B 
 
i. ‘Night pup sleep well’ on or around 30 May 2016;
 
ii. ‘You will start as my puppy and I will be your puppy walker’ on or around 6 June 2016;
 
iii. ‘I’ll text you when I’m in the area and you can make a hoax call’ on or around 8 June 2016;
 
iv. ‘LOL your my little star and I love you for that you make me smile and laugh and brighten me up when it gets redacted’ on or around 29 June 2016;
 
v. ‘This is not for publication Ask an bloke if he can suck his own **** and the chances are he will say no. Occasionally you might find one who claims he can but you will never ever meet a guy who doesn’t know’ on or around 30 June 2016;
 
vi. ‘Night night pup sleep well and dream of me. LOL’ on or around 4 July2016;
 
vii. ‘You will always be my puppy’ on or around 10 July 2016;
 
viii. ‘You know [Child A] I love you your such a genuine guy’ on or around 23 July 2016;
 
ix. ‘You know I really I love you...but I still love you’ on or around 27 July 2016;
 
x. A picture of a naked man on or around 31 July 2016;
 
xi. A box with the words ‘Had a fight with an erection this morning Beat it single handed’ on or around 2 August 2016;
 
xii. A cartoon of a sexual nature on or around 2 August 2016;
 
xiii. Redacted;
 
xiv. ‘It might sound weird but I recon you could describe the taste of his lips...I could mine cool ripe soft peach’ on or around 9 August 2016;
 
xv. ‘God you look good in that tee shirt...You look stunning in it’ on or around 19 August 2016;
 
xvi. ‘If he asked u to suck feel or stroke would u’ on or around 23 August 2016;
 
xvii. In response to Child A saying he had seen pictures of naked men ‘Does it excite u’ on or around 23 August 2016;
 
xviii. ‘I do love u my little cub’ on or around 25 August 2016;
 
xix. ‘Pity it’s not a formal session because I normally teach with a body crayon and bare skin drawing great fun’ on or around 27 August 2016; 
 
xx. ‘I love you to bits but I scared that I am becoming too reliant on you because you are the only person I have been so open with and can talk to who understands without judgement’ on or around 1 October 2016;
 
xxi. ‘Bless you you can try it on with [Child B] and see if he likes men in uniform...Might as well spice it up. Striptease in uniform drive him crazy’ on or around 2 October 2016;
 
xxii. ‘Don’t’ forget to send me a pic of u...Get someone else to take it don’t want a mirror reflection pic need one to print off and keep to bring out at an appropriate moment’ on or around 2 October 2016;
 
xxiii. ‘Your so sweet I love your smile in fact everything about you my hero’ on or around 9 October 2016;
 
xxiv. ‘I’m watching red dwarf in my pjs on an my hand down the front’ on or around 28 October 2016;
 
xxv. ‘What do you do in the shower that makes it fun’ on or around 2 November 2016;
 
xxvi. ‘By the size of ur ***** I bet it came out quick’ on or around 10 November 2016;
 
xxvii. You have a perfect figure. Keep it. Well proportioned’ on or around 10 November 2016;
 
xxviii. ‘Your as old as the man you feel. I feel 15’ on or around 14 November 2016;
 
xxix. ‘Nothing on tv that interests you...Time for the porn then lol’ on or around 19 November 2016;
 
xxx. ‘Perhaps I should get you a dildo and lube for Christmas’ on or around 19 November 2016.
 
Schedule C 
 
i. Two pictures of a car accident on or around 26 June 2016;
 
ii. On or around 31 July 2016 details of a call out you attended the previous day;
 
iii. In respect of a call you were attending on or around 3 August 2016 ‘Now I know where the term wrinklies come from urg’;
 
iv. On or around 3 August 2016, details of the call out you attended that day;
 
v. Photographs and the message ‘Scene of one of the jobs today’ on or around 5 August 2016;
 
vi. Photographs of a car accident on or around 8 August 2016;
 
vii. In respect of a call you were attending on or around 14 September 2016 ‘Sadly he only grazed elbows I was hoping he had broken his neck’;
 
viii. In respect of a call you were attending on or around 18 September 2016 ‘Another time waster assault my arse...had a fit and wanted attention. Alcoholic and f*****g stank’.
 
Schedule D 
 
i. ‘I reached down and he was naked with the most enormous erection’;
 
ii. ‘Good what about lube and condoms. Or are you bare back’;
 
iii. ‘I went bareback’;
 
iv. ‘Yes I love Child A to bits and I have so much respect and time for him’.

Finding

Preliminary Matters:

Application to conduct the hearing in private

1. Ms Reid applied to have the application by Mr Tyrell to conduct the hearing of the application itself in private, and this was not opposed by Mr Tyrrell. The Panel took legal advice and considered Mr Tyrrell and Ms Reid’s submissions. The Panel decided that it was appropriate, fair and in the interests of justice to hear the application in private given the private and personal matters that will require to be discussed in the application and further, given the need to protect the private life of Mr Tyrrell, witnesses and others connected with the case.

2. Mr Tyrrell said he wanted the whole hearing in private.

Decision on conducting the Hearing in Private

3. The Panel accepted the legal advice from the Legal Assessor who referred it to the guidance in the Practice Note on Conducting Hearings in Private. He referred the Panel to the relevant rules and advised that hearings should be conducted in public given the central importance of the open justice principle. The Panel may only depart from this in limited circumstances. In considering whether to conduct part or the whole of the hearing in private, the Panel must consider what is in the interests of justice and take account of the right to protection of private life of Mr Tyrrell and any witnesses.

4. The Panel took account of the submissions from Ms Reid and the submissions and information placed before it by Mr Tyrrell. Mr Tyrrell’s submissions extended to 124 pages. Mr Tyrrell states that he has been harassed as a result of these allegations and feels threatened by various parties. He states he feels he is being “re-tried” despite a court having found him not guilty. This Panel is unable to test that information and it cannot adjudicate on what is stated by Mr Tyrrell in his application. Whilst the Panel took account of the Mr Tyrrell’s concerns, the open justice principle is central to a fair hearing, and it may not be departed from except in strictly limited circumstances.

5. The Panel was mindful of the HCPC Practice Note which states:-

“The “open justice principle” adopted in the United Kingdom means that, in general, justice should be administered in public and that:

• hearings should be held in public;
• evidence should be communicated publicly; and
• fair, accurate and contemporaneous media reporting of proceedings should not be prevented unless strictly necessary…

Article 6(1) ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights] is directed at preventing the administration of justice in secret. It guarantees the general right to a public hearing, for the purpose of protecting the parties from secret justice without public scrutiny and to maintain confidence in the courts. However, there is no corresponding general right for a person to insist upon a private hearing.

The right to a public hearing is subject to the specific exceptions set out in Article 6(1). Consequently, there are circumstances in which proceedings can be heard in private but, unless one of those express exceptions applies, a decision to sit in private will be a violation of the ECHR.

The Panel rules reflect Article 6(1) ECHR and provide that:

“At any hearing... the proceedings shall be held in public unless the [Panel] is satisfied that, in the interests of justice or for the protection of the private life of the registrant, the complainant, any person giving evidence or of any patient or client, the public should be excluded from all or part of the hearing;...”

Thus, there are two broad circumstances in which all or part of a hearing may be held in private:

• where it is in the interests of justice to do so; or
• where it is done in order to protect the private life of:

 the registrant who is the subject of the allegation;
 the complainant;
 a witness giving evidence;
 or a service user.”

6. The Practice Note further states that:-

“Article 6 of ECHR which provides that proceedings may be held in private - “to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the [Panel] in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.” The narrow scope of that Article means that the exercise of the “interests of justice” exception should be confined to situations where it is strictly necessary to exclude the press and public and where doing otherwise would genuinely frustrate the administration of justice.”

7. The Panel did not find there was any proper basis to conclude that it was “strictly necessary” to conduct the hearing in private. Further, having considered all the information before it, it did not find that there were any special circumstances where a public hearing would prejudice the interests of justice.

8. Embarrassment, reputation, or the concerns expressed by Mr Tyrrell are not sufficient to reach the required high threshold of “strictly necessary”. The Panel decided that the administration of justice will not be frustrated by conducting the hearing in public. Further, it decided that there was no proper basis upon which to conclude that Mr Tyrrell would suffer disproportionate damage should the hearing be held in public.

9. There is a strong public interest in hearing these serious allegations in public. The Panel concluded that the open justice principle in this case should be subject only to the right to protect the private life of Mr Tyrrell and Child A and Child B. To that extent the Panel concluded that it was appropriate and fair to hear in private those parts of the hearing relating to the health of those parties, should that arise. The audio recording of the interviews with Mr Tyrrell will also be heard in private in order to protect identities and maintain anonymity.

10. The Panel accordingly concluded that the hearing will be conducted in public, apart from those parts of the hearing referring to the health of Mr Tyrrell, Child A and Child B and the audio recordings.


Application for Special Measures for witness Parent A

11. The Panel next heard an application from Ms Reid to allow the next witness, Parent A, to have a friend with her for support. This was opposed by Ms Tompkinson on behalf of Mr Tyrrell. Ms Reid asked for special measures in this regard and reminded the Panel that at a Preliminary Hearing it had been decided that Parent A was a vulnerable witness. Parent A seeks a friend be with her and support her as the evidence was likely to be traumatic for her. She submitted it was reasonable and proportionate to allow the attendance of this supporter who is not connected with the case.

12. Ms Tompkinson opposed the application. She submitted that Parent A was vulnerable but not the most vulnerable category of witness and feeling intimidated was not of itself enough as many witnesses felt that way. She submitted that the evidence was primarily to put into evidence messages that passed between Mr Tyrrell and Child A and beyond that her evidence would be hearsay and inadmissible opinion evidence. One option would be to exclude any hearsay evidence from Parent A. Ms Tompkinson submitted that the default position was for the witness to be alone in a private room. Mr Tyrell will not be able to see Parent A in any event. She submitted there was always a risk that another person present can influence and contaminate the evidence of the witness.

13. Mr Tyrrell would likely be concerned that the evidence will be influenced. Ms Tompkinson submitted that Child A was not accompanied at the trial and therefore it was hard to see why Child A’s mother should have that support. It is also fair to remember that Mr Tyrrell states he had in turn been harassed by Parent A. She submitted that any hearsay or opinion evidence should be struck out, alternatively admit the friend as a guest, that is effectively in the public gallery, but the witness cannot see or hear her.

Decision on Application for further special measures for Parent A

14. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who advised that special measures were a matter of discretion for the Panel, and to be mindful of fairness, and proportionality in deciding what, if any, further measures were appropriate. It should also have regard to the guidance in the HCPTS Practice Note on Special Measures.

15. The Panel noted that Parent A is a vulnerable witness and special measures are already in place in that regard. The Panel took account of the concerns raised by Parent A and was also mindful of the concerns expressed by Mr Tyrrell and his health issues. The Panel was conscious that this is a public hearing, and this person would therefore, in any event, be entitled to attend as a member of the public.

16. Giving evidence is a stressful experience but the Panel do not consider that alone justifies further special measures as stress is something experienced by most, if not all, witnesses. Parent A’s evidence is also of a limited nature, and she does not speak to the underlying facts of the case.

17. In these circumstances the Panel decided that it would not impose further special measures beyond those already in place for Parent A. It considered those measures are sufficient to deal fairly and effectively with Parent A’s vulnerability and that to impose further special measures would not be desirable and be unnecessary and disproportionate in the circumstances. The application is therefore refused.

Application to allow Hearsay Evidence

18. Ms Reid sought to have the following hearsay evidence admitted into the evidence: -

• Exhibit 21 witness statement of Parent C - A signed statement of Parent C given to witness SA, the Investigating Officer at SECAMB on 21 December 2016 when Parent C gave SA screenshots from the telephone 22B.
• Exhibit 22B - Screenshots taken from Child B’s telephone by their Parent C, being messages between Mr Tyrrell and Child B.
• Exhibit 29 – A summary dated 27 January 2017 of the police interview with Mr Tyrrell by an unnamed police officer. There is no audio recording of this interview.

19. Ms Reid referred to the relevant case law and the factors to be considered when deciding whether to admit this hearsay evidence. She set out the steps taken to secure the attendance of Child B and Parent C. A witness statement was prepared following contact with Child B and Parent C but thereafter both disengaged from the investigation.

20. Regarding Exhibit 29, Ms Reid explained that these documents were obtained from the police records and the identification of the officer has not been possible to ascertain.

21. Ms Reid submitted with regard to Exhibit 21 and 22B that significant attempts were made to engage further with the witnesses and everything short of a witness summons was attempted. Child B had previously stated that he was fearful of Mr Tyrrell at the time and at the interview. She submitted the evidence was reliable as Exhibit 21 was a signed witness statement given by SA and he will be a live witness who can be questioned by the Panel. There is no apparent motive by Parent C to fabricate the evidence and speaks only to finding and screenshotting the messages on Child B’s telephone. There is some evidence of animosity but no suggestion of fabrication of the evidence.

22. Ms Reid submitted that Exhibit 21 and 22B is the primary evidence in support of particular 2 and is corroborated by other evidence in Exhibit 45 being messages from 23 November 2016 which corresponds with the dates from Parent C. Ms Reid also referred to other text messages in Exhibit 45 that correspond with the messages also seen at Exhibit 22B.

23. Ms Reid submitted that there did not appear to be a significant dispute about whether these messages are what they appear to be.

24. With regard to Exhibit 29, Ms Reid submitted that the identity of the police interviewer cannot be ascertained. She submitted it was reliable as it is a formal record on police documentation being a “short descriptive note” made by the police in respect of an interview with Mr Tyrrell at the police station identified. It appears to follow on from an earlier police interview which is in the bundle and so indicates this is a true and reliable summary that makes sense in the context of the alleged facts in this case, dealing specifically with the use of Entonox by Mr Tyrrell.

25. Ms Reid submitted that Exhibit 29 is not the sole or decisive evidence in respect of the allegations.

26. The bundle was sent to Mr Tyrrell in December 2021 and he has been on notice that these documents would be relied upon by the HCPC. His previous legal representative also reviewed the evidence and engaged in discussions about admissibility and did not object to these exhibits.

27. Mr Tyrrell said to the Panel that he had the bundle in November 2021 but had said he had told the HCPC that he did not have internet access. He said he physically got the bundle recently. His previous Counsel had discussed the documents with him, but he had not actually seen them at that point.

28. Mr Tyrrell said that Child B was not attending the hearing and he was a valuable witness for Mr Tyrrell. He said that Child B was a critical witness, and all the Panel will hear is Parent C who dislikes him and is “out for revenge”. He said that not all the messages are available to the Panel and are misrepresented and taken out of context.

29. Mr Tyrrell told the Panel that he had bought Child A a present which had been agreed with his parents and Child B had spoiled it by telling Child A. He said allowing in the messages was unfair as messages were missing and only shows the messages sent when Mr Tyrrell had been unwell and angry. He said some of the messages were not real and had been added in for effect. He said Exhibit 22B failed to set out the background to his friendship with Child A and Child B. Mr Tyrrell said Child A’s mother had thanked him for helping her child and the messages were incomplete.

30. Mr Tyrrell said that there was animosity with SA whom he said was hostile and aggressive.

31. Mr Tyrrell said that both accusers were not being allowed to give evidence by their parents, who were vindictive. He said it was not fair to him when neither Child A nor B was giving evidence.

32. Mr Tyrrell said he recalled the interview summarised at Exhibit 29 and he “stood by it”.

Decision on Hearsay Evidence Application

33. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the relevant case law and to the guidance and factors set out in the cases of Thorneycroft v NMC [2014] EWHC 1565 (Admin) and NMC v Ogbonna [2010] EWCA Civ 1216. He stressed to the Panel that all cases are fact-sensitive and the test is the requirement of fairness. The Panel took account of the submissions of both parties.

34. The Panel considered each of the three aspects of evidence in turn, was mindful of the guidance and factors to be considered, and the central importance of fairness. It took account of the submissions.

35. Exhibit 29 - A summary dated 27 January 2017 of the police interview with Mr Tyrrell by an unnamed police officer. There is no audio recording of this interview - This is evidence that derives from a reliable source, notwithstanding the lack of identity of the police officer who made the summary. The HCPC have taken reasonable steps and are unable in the circumstances to identify and therefore call evidence from the author. There is nothing to suggest this evidence is not what it bears to be. This summary is not the sole or decisive evidence and, significantly, it is not disputed by Mr Tyrrell. There will be an opportunity to test this evidence when Mr Tyrrell gives evidence. The Panel therefore concluded that it was in all the circumstances fair to admit this evidence.

36. Exhibit 21 - The witness statement of Parent C (the parent of Child B) given to SA, the Investigating Officer at SECAMB on 21 December 2016 when Parent C gave SA screenshots from Child B’s telephone (Exhibit 22B) – This exhibit relates to particular 2 of the allegation, which is serious. The Panel took the view that the HCPC has taken some reasonable steps to secure the attendance of both Parent C and Child B but it could have taken further steps to secure the attendance of Parent C. The Panel took the view that the sole and decisive evidence is the screenshots themselves, not this witness statement. Exhibit 21 is limited evidence from Parent C about the apparent recovery by Parent C of the screenshots from the telephone of Child B.

37. SA received the screenshot evidence at Exhibit 22B from Parent C when he investigated the concerns. However, Child B was not present and SA did not meet with them at any point, only with Parent C. Exhibit 21 is potentially significant evidence as it goes to support the origin of the screenshots between Child B and Mr Tyrrell, allegedly from Child B’s telephone.

38. Mr Tyrrell states the messages at Exhibit 22B are incomplete. They are therefore, at least in part, a matter of contention. Further, there is information which indicates animosity between Mr Tyrrell and Child B and Parent C.

39. The evidence of Parent C and of Child B cannot be properly tested as neither will give live evidence. SA can only confirm, as he does in his witness statement, that he received the screenshots from Parent C. The matter therefore cannot be properly and fairly tested, it covers a matter of contention, and there is animosity between the non-attending witnesses and Mr Tyrrell. In these circumstances the Panel concluded that it was not fair to admit Exhibit 21.

40. Exhibit 22B - Screenshots taken from Child B’s telephone by their Parent C, being messages between Mr Tyrrell and Child B. This exhibit purports to be the text messages themselves between Child B and Mr Tyrrell. Reasonable steps have been taken to secure the attendance of Child B. Exhibit 22B is largely decisive evidence of particular 2 but is not solely decisive given the text messages which are also in Exhibit 45. It is highly significant, if he chooses to give evidence, that Mr Tyrrell will have the opportunity to challenge the messages in Exhibit 22B. He will have the opportunity to challenge the authenticity of these messages, including the source of the messages not least as it is Mr Tyrrell who he is alleged to have sent and received some of them. Mr Tyrrell will also be entitled to cross examine SA.

41. In these circumstances the Panel concluded that it was fair to admit the text messages at Exhibit 22B. For completeness it concluded that it was fair and appropriate to allow paragraph 9 of the witness statement of SA, which sets out the context and circumstances in which he received the screenshots in Exhibit 22B. That also allows Mr Tyrrell to challenge that evidence.

42. Accordingly, the Panel refuses the application in respect of Exhibit 21, Parent C’s statement; it grants the application in respect of Exhibit 22B, Exhibit 29 and SA witness statement in its entirety.

Application to Amend

43. Ms Reid applied to make an amendment to particular 1(d) of the Allegation as follows: -

Particular 1d) of the Allegation: -

‘Contained inappropriate information regarding calls you attended and/or purported to have attended in your role at SECAMB, including those as outlined in Schedule C’

44. Ms Reid submitted this was a minor amendment and no injustice would be caused. The amendment better reflected the evidence and sought to clarify that the focus is on the content of the messages, rather than on whether or not calls were attended by him in his role at SECAMB. Notice has been given to Mr Tyrrell. Mr Tyrrell had no objection to the proposed amendment.

45. Having taken legal advice as to the interests of justice, fairness and whether the proposed amendment alters the nature and gravity of the Allegation, the Panel concluded that it was fair and appropriate to allow this amendment, which was minor. It does not alter the overall nature or gravity of the Allegation and, further, it is not objected to by Mr Tyrrell who was given fair notice.

46. The case was opened and the Allegation was read. Mr Tyrrell denied the Allegation, except for particular 7 a) which he admitted.

Background:

47. Mr Tyrrell is a registered Paramedic and was employed, at the relevant time, by South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB) as a Band 6 Paramedic in clinical operations. On 28 November 2016, he made a self-referral to the HCPC. Mr Tyrrell informed the HCPC that he had been arrested following an allegation of inappropriate conduct towards a child, Child A.

48. On 1 December 2016, Hampshire Constabulary informed the HCPC of the investigation against Mr Tyrrell after he was arrested for demonstrating sexual behaviour towards a child under 18 years old. The police investigated allegations that Mr Tyrrell had groomed two 14 year old boys, Child A and Child B and exchanged messages with them via Facebook. It was also alleged that Mr Tyrrell had administered Entonox to Child A at a fireworks party. In addition, items belonging to SECAMB were found at the home of Child A, including a Pulse Oximeter and blood glucose machine. It was alleged that Mr Tyrrell had stolen these items from SECAMB and given them to Child A.

49. It is understood that Child A first met Mr Tyrrell when he was 10 years old at a Christmas event at the Ambulance Station where Mr Tyrrell was working as a paramedic. Mr Tyrrell was playing Father Christmas at this event and Child A spoke to him about his ambition to become a paramedic. Over the next few years, Child A undertook voluntary work within the community first response team which is used by SECAMB. In 2016, Child A was nominated for an award. Mr Tyrrell supported the nomination.

50. Child A later received a Facebook friend request from Mr Tyrrell, which he accepted. They began to chat over Facebook and exchanged mobile numbers. Mr Tyrrell met Child A’s parents. During their conversations, Child A told Mr Tyrrell that he was gay and Mr Tyrrell also shared personal details about his own relationships. Child A began dating Child B, who was the same age as Child A. Mr Tyrrell requested that Child B become a Facebook friend and they too began talking on Facebook.

51. Mr Tyrrell shared a total of approximately 38,000 messages to Child A over a time period of approximately 10 months in 2016, allegedly including sexually explicit messages. It is also alleged that, during a fireworks party, Mr Tyrrell engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with Child A. A short time after this, the parents of Child A became concerned about Child A’s relationship with Mr Tyrrell. They insisted on looking at his mobile phone and discovered the messages. They then contacted the police.

52. On 25 November 2016, Child A was interviewed by police and recorded an Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) interview. Child A was interviewed by police on a second occasion in August 2017 where he made further disclosures.

53. Mr Tyrrell was charged with engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child (Child A), sexual assault and two counts of theft of items from SECAMB. Mr Tyrrell pleaded not guilty to all counts. A criminal trial took place from 20 April 2018 to 3 May 2018. Child A was 16 years of age at this time and he gave evidence at the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Mr Tyrrell was found not guilty on all counts.

54. SA was appointed as the Investigating Officer at SECAMB in November 2016. A Disciplinary Hearing took place on 20 October 2017.

55. The Panel heard from two witnesses for the HCPC: -

• Parent A, the mother of Child A.
• SA the Investigating Officer in the SECAMB internal investigation.

Witness 1 - Parent A

56. Parent A affirmed and confirmed that her witness statement was true to the best of her knowledge and belief.

57. Parent A told the Panel that when Child A was about 11 years old he had expressed an interest in becoming a paramedic and in December 2012 they first met Mr Tyrrell during a visit they made to the SECAMB premises. In 2016, when Child A was 15 years old, he was put forward by Mr Tyrrell for a volunteering award.

58. Parent A said that in 2016 she was not aware Child A was in regular contact with Mr Tyrrell on Facebook but she did find that out in late summer 2016. She said Mr Tyrrell had added her as a Facebook friend in late summer 2016 and she was aware that Mr Tyrrell was keen to support Child A in preparing for college. Mr Tyrrell then began to meet Child A and give him presents including in summer 2016 a pulse oximeter and a blood glucose monitor and Child A had showed that to her. She did not look at the content of any messages between Mr Tyrrell and Child A before November 2016.

59. Parent A said she was aware at that time that Child A and Child B were in a relationship. Parent A told the Panel about Mr Tyrrell taking Child A to a fireworks event that he was attending as a Paramedic on 4 November 2016. Parent A then had occasion to look at Child A’s telephone and found on the messenger conversation that there were 38,000 messages between Child A and Mr Tyrrell. She then reviewed both text messages and Facebook messages and she later contacted Parent B and the police.

60. Parent A said she took screenshots on 23 November 2016 and took more later, after the telephone was returned by the police. She said she took screenshots to pass to the police and to SA as part of the SECAMB investigation. She confirmed that Exhibit 22A is the text and Facebook messages which she had taken screenshots of. She said she had used google software to download the Facebook messages from Child A’s telephone from 1 January 2016 to 17 March 2018 and these appear at Exhibit 45 but the messages end around November 2016. She knew who these were sent by as photographs were displayed of the sender of each message. Parent A told the Panel about the messages she found in November 2016 about Entonox.

Cross examination

61. Parent A did not recall that there was any award ceremony and said Mr Tyrrell was wrong to say there was. She was referred to the messages and said she did not know whether anyone else was involved in the nomination of Child A for the award.

62. Parent A was referred to her witness statement. She said she learned about the messages between Child A and Mr Tyrrell in late summer 2016 and accepted that the exchange appeared to show that Mr Tyrrell had asked Child A for an assurance that his parents were OK with them communicating. She said that her witness statement summarised her position and that the messages were the evidence.

63. In November 2016 Parent A learned about the extent of the messages but said she had known before that messaging was taking place between Child A and Mr Tyrrell. Parent A said that she did not recall who asked who to be a friend on Facebook as it was five years ago. She had not mentioned that in her witness statement, but she said she recalled there had been dialogue with him about supporting Child A. Parent A accepted that she had asked Mr Tyrrell to speak to Child A about choice of college, as she saw Mr Tyrrell as a mentor figure.

64. Parent A said that Child A told her that Mr Tyrrell had given him the Pulse Oximeter and Blood Glucose Machine and she had believed Child A and she said that various messages make it clear these were the property of SECAMB.

65. Parent A said that she met Mr Tyrrell on Bonfire night and that had been arranged with him. Mr Tyrrell had offered Child A a lift. Child A and Mr Tyrrell had met earlier and had a burger. She said that Child A was not involved in organising the firework display but was attending as a volunteer and agreed that Child A had offered Mr Tyrrell a choice about when to pick them up but pointed out that Mr Tyrrell was the adult.

66. Parent A was referred to the messages which appeared to be dated 26 and 30 October 2016 and 1 November 2016. She accepted that some of the messages could be interpreted as Child A saying he wanted a “chilled morning.” Parent A said she did not know whether all the messages she had quoted in her witness statement were in order and some may be out of chronological order, but there were so many of them. She denied she had deliberately tried to present the information in a negative way. She understood that her witness statement would be read in conjunction with the thousands of messages she had exhibited.

67. On re-examination, Parent A was referred to the concerns about grooming expressed by Mr Tyrrell to Child A in August 2016 and the discussions about not disclosing all the content of the texts to Parent A. Parent A said she did not know at the time that was being discussed.

Witness 2 – SA

68. SA is a registered Paramedic who retired as Clinical Operations Manager at SECAMB in 2015. He affirmed and said his witness statement was true to the best of his knowledge and belief. In November 2016 whilst at SECAMB, he was appointed to investigate the concerns about Mr Tyrrell. He told the Panel about this investigation which included interviewing Mr Tyrrell, Child A, Parent A, Child C and Parent C. Both Parent A and Parent C had provided him with screenshots taken from their child’s mobile telephones.

69. SA exhibited his interview notes to the Panel and advised that the police had been involved and they had asked him to pause his investigation whilst it investigated the concerns about Mr Tyrrell. The police had allowed him to meet the Parents of Child A and the mother of Child C. SA told the Panel about the screenshots provided to him by Parent C from Child C’s telephone.

70. SA told the Panel about the Pulse Oximeter and Blood Glucose machine. He explained that he had asked a colleague at SECAMB to check, and they had concluded from the serial numbers that they were both SECAMB property. These items were provided to him by the police who had recovered them from Child A. SA said that no Paramedic was issued with personal items of equipment for use and that all such items were held as stock at the station. Mr Tyrrell had said to SA that Child A must have stolen the items.

71. SA interviewed Child A on 15 August 2017 when he disclosed Mr Tyrrell touched him. SA said he had made notes about that interview two days later and he had reported the matter to the police.

72. In cross examination, SA said Parent A had provided him with some telephone messages, and it was a selection of messages. He said it was an evidence collection exercise at that stage. He said there were a vast number of messages and he was given a “snapshot” but the police had all the messages. SA said he had taken one statement from Child A when he was permitted to do so once the police had allowed it. There may have been two sessions given the disclosure made by Child A which he needed to report to the police.

73. SA said that Child A told him about Mr Tyrrell inappropriately touching him and that may have previously disclosed been by Child A to Parent A. When he attended their home, he had made a handwritten note and when he later had returned with the typed up the statement it was at the stage that Child A made the further inappropriate touching disclosure.

74. Mr Tyrrell did not dispute that the two items at particular 3 were SECAMB property. SA said he had been shown the items by the police. Child A told SA that the items had been given to him by Mr Tyrrell although there were other possibilities. Child A did have some access to SECAMB when he was volunteering.

75. With regard to the Fireworks event SA understood that the school had not required a Paramedic and he had been told that as part of his investigation. SA said he was aware that Mr Tyrrell was a Community Responder at that time.

76. SA stated that he had no reason to believe that the screenshots and Facebook messages provided to him by Parent C for Child B were not authentic as Child B had showed them to him on his telephone at the time.

77. [The transcripts of the police interviews at Exhibits 28A, 28B and 34A were listened to by the Panel in private, as decided upon in the privacy application].

Mr Tyrrell’s Evidence and preliminary matters

78. Mr Tyrrell confirmed that he agreed the recordings of the police interviews that had been exhibited, and he confirmed it was him that could be heard in those recordings. Following agreement with Mr Tyrrell, a redacted bundle of exhibits provided by Mr Tyrrell was provided to the Panel.

79. Mr Tyrrell made an application to receive hearsay evidence in the form of a signed, written statement made to the police by his former colleague KP on 8 December 2016. Mr Tyrrell said that he wanted the statement received as it contained information helpful to him and his defence. He said it would be helpful to the Panel. This was not opposed by Ms Reid.

80. The Panel accepted legal advice about fairness and the guidelines in Thorneycroft v NMC [2014] EWHC 1565 (Admin) and NMC v Ogbonna [2010] EWCA Civ 1216. He stressed to the Panel that all cases are fact-sensitive and the test is the requirement of fairness. The Panel took account of the submissions of both parties.

81. The Panel decided that in all the circumstances it was fair to admit this statement as hearsay evidence. The application is not opposed by the HCPC. He evidence is a signed statement made to the police by KP whose position has already been referred to earlier in the evidence heard by the Panel. KP is a former colleague of Mr Tyrrell, the statement is not sole or decisive evidence and it is demonstrably reliable. What it bears to be is not a matter of contention.

Mr Tyrrell’s Evidence

82. Mr Tyrrell affirmed and he apologised to the HCPC and to the children and families concerned. He said he has been provoked and appreciated suffering had been caused and he had only wanted to help the community and help someone who had wanted to be a Paramedic.

83. In relation to Particulars 6 and 8 of the Alleagtion, Mr Tyrrell said Child A had never stopped the conversations he had with him. On 5 November 2016 Child A had asked to go for a burger. The message at 15.47 gives no indication that anything untoward had happened and at 15.59 Child A says “everything is good thanks”. Mr Tyrrell said that this makes clear that what is alleged in particular 6 did not happen. Mr Tyrrell says that the later messages show Child A saying it was a “brilliant day.” There is no mention of anything happening or anything sexual happening with Mr Tyrrell. The later text conversation with Child A six days later makes no mention and says “I love you” to Mr Tyrrell, which Mr Tyrrell said was not sexual.

84. On 12 November 2016, Mr Tyrrell referred to his conversation with Child A where they have a text conversation about Mr Tyrrell’s health. Mr Tyrrell said that this conversation shows that what is alleged at particulars 6 and 8 did not happen.

85. Mr Tyrrell referred to the texts with Child A on 14 November 2016 which shows Child A is strong and “stands up for himself” and he was a “gladiator”. Child A states in the texts that Mr Tyrrell has never “pissed him off” and there was no indication of any awkwardness which would result from an alleged sexual assault. Mr Tyrrell referred to the texts on 18 November 2016 with Child A about speaking to his father about his sexuality, 12 days after the alleged conduct in particular 6. Mr Tyrrell said that “puppy” was a term used in the texts between them and was a term of endearment that Child A had encouraged and was taken from a reference to police dog training. Mr Tyrrell stated that Child A remained “upbeat and friendly” and Child A sympathised with him. Mr Tyrrell said this and later texts showed that there was nothing untoward and on 19 November 2016 they have a chat which is good natured “banter.”

86. Mr Tyrrell said his reference to sex on 19 November 2016 in his text conversation with Child A was spoken out of concern about his welfare. With reference to the messages on 20 November 2016, Mr Tyrrell said that was a discussion about pre-nuptial agreement as Child A had raised the issue with him. Child A was asking for advice and said to him “I love you mate.”

87. Mr Tyrrell said that the conversation on 22 November 2016 with Child A was about the issues with Child B. Mr Tyrrell said that the texts make clear they were friends. He said the communications between him and Chid A after 5 November 2016 were friendly and he said that indicated that nothing untoward had happened.

88. Mr Tyrrell referred to the texts on 23 November 2016 between Child A and Child B which refer to the deletion of texts. He said that many texts had been deleted. Mr Tyrrell referred to the text discussions that day which refer to the alleged sexual conduct of Mr Tyrrell and he said it shows Child A saying nothing had happened. Mr Tyrrell said the whole matter had been rewritten and there was no reason to do what is alleged at particular 6 and 8.

89. With regards to particular 7a) and 7 b), Mr Tyrrell said he had stupidly borrowed the Entonox on the basis of a perceived need for pain relief at the Fireworks event. Mr Tyrrell said it was later returned by him to the Ambulance station. He said Child A had changed his version of events several times.

90. With regards to particular 3b), Mr Tyrrell referred to the police statement from KP (admitted as hearsay evidence on the application of Mr Tyrrell). Mr Tyrrell stated that KP in her statement lists the contents and she does not mention test strips. He said he was not trained in use of this machine and said that he did not give Child A the equipment.

91. Mr Tyrrell said the Pulse Oximeter, referred to in particular 3a), was his own, bought by him on eBay several years ago. He said that he had given that to Child A and it was not owned by SECAMB.

92. Mr Tyrrell referred to the letters from his solicitors, Thompsons, dated 24 July 2017 which states that the police were taking no further action about the allegation of sexual grooming; and to the further letter dated 9 October 2017 stating that the charge regarding the Entonox was being discontinued.

93. Mr Tyrrell referred to particular 1 a) regarding the “frequency” of texts between him and Child A and referred to the arithmetic set out in that letter regarding the 38,000 texts. He referred the Panel to the letter he wrote to the Employment Tribunal dated 7 June 2019 about the number of texts he is alleged to have sent.

94. Mr Tyrrell referred to the statement of Child A which Mr Tyrrell said was edited by Child A with this mother Parent A. He said that Child A’s statement was lengthy for a child and conflicted with other statements Child A had made. This was being edited for submission to SA. Mr Tyrrell said that words were very “adult” and was a pre-prepared statement for SA. Mr Tyrrell said the statement matches other statements from Parent A and SA almost word for word. Mr Tyrrell said he disagreed with the statement.

95. With regard to particulars 6 and 8, Mr Tyrrell denied all the points made by Child A. It was an open classroom and several people visited during the day. Mr Tyrrell said that what is alleged could not have happened as he only had two hands. Mr Tyrrell referred to his written timeline of 5 November 2016 and he said that his timeline does not fit with the timeline suggested by Child A. Child A later invited Mr Tyrrell for tea and told others on Facebook that everything was “fine”.

96. With regards to particular 1, Mr Tyrrell said that he admitted that the number was excessive and agreed there were many messages but many were quick, single word messages and jokes and he did not feel he was being inappropriate. He said he did not recall sending many messages and denied others. He did not accept that the messages were inappropriate as to frequency.

Mr Tyrrell’s position on the Schedules A – D in the Allegation

97. Mr Tyrrell addressed the texts set out in each of the schedules. Mr Tyrrell stated that in Schedule A he denied sending any of the messages specified. In Schedule B – i) Mr Tyrrell said he may have sent this as “puppy” was often used by him and Child A (ii) admitted (iii) admit iv) admit v) deny vi) admit vii) admit viii) admit ix) deny x) deny xi) deny xii) deny xiii) deny xiv) deny xv) admit xvi) deny xvii) deny xviii) admit, but it was not sexual xix) admit, xx) deny xxi) admit xxii) admit, uniform borrowed, not sexual xxiii) admit, a joke xxiv) deny xxv) deny xxvi) deny xxvii) admit, Child A was concerned about getting fat xxviii) admit, talking about a song xxix) admit, in middle of conversation, a jovial joke xxx) admit, a joke further messages indicate that is so

98. In respect of Schedule C, Mr Tyrrell stated: - i) deny ii) deny iii) deny iv) deny v) deny vi) deny vii) deny viii) deny

99. In respect of Schedule D, Mr Tyrrell stated: - i) deny ii) deny iii) deny iv) admit

100. Mr Tyrrell denied particulars 3, 4, 5 and 6; particular 7 a) was admitted; 7b) was admitted subject to Mr Tyrrell stating there was a perceived need; 7c) denied; and particular 8 was denied. Mr Tyrrell confirmed that he denied particulars 9 and 10.

101. Mr Tyrrell said none of his actions were sexually motivated or dishonest and he had done what he did with the best of intentions but did not have the capacity at the time to make a clear decision, and that had he had the time again he would change everything. He said that he was telling the truth and he had nothing to lose as he had already lost his job.

Cross examination of Mr Tyrrell

102. Mr Tyrrell said he first met Child A when he was about 11 years old. He first met him at Christmas 2012 when he was visiting the Ambulance station. Child A was interested in becoming a Paramedic and Mr Tyrrell said that Child A later contacted him in that regard and he had encouraged him.

103. In early 2016, when Child A was 14 years old, Mr Tyrrell recommended the child for an award. Mr Tyrrell said Child A befriended him on Facebook and that arose from his interest in becoming a Paramedic. Mr Tyrrell said he was not a mentor to Child A but agreed that he was in a position of trust with respect to Child A. Mr Tyrrell was 56 years old in 2016 and an experienced Paramedic. He accepted he had authority in the relationship in the sense that he had knowledge and experience. Mr Tyrrell said that he maintained appropriate boundaries with Child A and accepted that it was not for Child A to recognise and maintain boundaries and that their relationship was not one of equals.

104. Mr Tyrrell was asked about particular 1 regarding Child A. He was referred to the many text and Facebook messages in Exhibit 45 between him and Child A. The earliest one is dated 16 February 2016 and Mr Tyrrell agreed that he had sent the messages to Child A about call outs he attended for SECAMB. He did not identify any messages that were not sent or received by him and Child A. He accepted that on 18 July 2016 he sent a message to Child A about a call out and had referred to and provided information about a service user. Mr Tyrrell said he had not intended to provide details and said that the message he sent to Child A was not inappropriate. He accepted that the texts sent by him to Child A were about call outs that Mr Tyrrell had attended, but he denied that he had identified any service user.

105. Mr Tyrrell accepted that the texts covered the period February to November 2016 and said that he had texted Child A for over a year in total. He did not recall first being Facebook friends with Child A on 14 March 2016, and said that he did not recall that he had next contacted Child A on Facebook in May 2016 as recorded in the print of messages in Exhibit 45.

106. Mr Tyrrell did not accept that there had been as many as 37,968 messages between him and Child A despite that being indicated on the print out of the messages at Exhibit 45. Mr Tyrrell said he had no way of disagreeing with that figure as he could not prove that number was incorrect. He did not agree that all the messages were genuine.

107. Mr Tyrrell was taken to the report of his disciplinary interview with SA at SECAMB on 11 July 2017. Mr Tyrrell accepted that he had said at that interview that his contact with Child A was more or less daily. Mr Tyrrell reiterated that some of the messages were not authentic and had likely been maliciously fabricated by someone, probably Parent A. He accepted that had not been put to Parent A by his Special Counsel appointed to cross examine Parent A on his behalf.

108. Ms Reid put to Mr Tyrrell that his position was not plausible and that there was a consistency with the timing, content and tone of all the messages exhibited. Mr Tyrrell accepted the tone and language used in the messages sounded like him, but said he disputed some of them. Mr Tyrrell agreed that Parent A fabricating some of the messages was unlikely, but it was not implausible. He agreed he sent Child A many of the messages. He said he did not recall sending any racist jokes to Child A and said he was not a racist.

109. Mr Tyrrell was taken to Exhibit 22A, the messages sent to the police by Parent A taken from Child A’s telephone. Mr Tyrrell said the context was missing and that could be misleading. He accepted it was not plausible or likely that Parent A would, years later fabricate messages, as seen in Exhibit 45. He denied that the messages were inappropriate. He accepted that he had sent the messages, as they were “the type of thing I would be sending” to Child A.

110. Mr Tyrrell accepted that the texts on 19 November 2016 in Exhibit 22B were the same as those of the same date in Exhibit 45 and he accepted that he had sent those messages, including the one mentioning “dildo and lube”. He said it was just banter and it had not been sexual. He said he did not remember sending them in any event. He said he was appalled and did not intend to be racist or sexual.

111. Mr Tyrrell said that he and Child A became Facebook friends, and he said that they had not intended to meet up. He said that when sending messages on a screen there was an element of “banter”. Mr Tyrrell said that he did not think about Child A’s age as he was just a “wise old owl” that Mr Tyrrell could easily communicate with. He knew that Child A was 14 and had turned 15 in August 2016.

112. Particular 2 concerning Child B - Mr Tyrrell said he was asked by Child B to be a Facebook friend after Child A had asked Child B to do so. Regarding Exhibit 22B, Mr Tyrrell accepted that he sent Facebook messages to Child B in August 2017, and around 17 October 2017. He was shown in Exhibit 22B the texts given to SA by Child B’s parent as part of SA’s investigation and which refer to “the most enormous erection” and “lube”.

113. In his interview with SA on 11 July 2017, Mr Tyrrell accepted that he had said at that time to SA that he had sent those messages to Child B. He said he had been open and honest with the SECAMB investigation. He said he did not recall and had been stressed at that time. Mr Tyrrell accepted that these messages were inappropriate and sexual but he said that there was no sexual gratification or sexual motivation involved. Mr Tyrrell said he did not remember sending some of the messages to Child B.

HCPC Application to Adjourn - 16 February 2022

The application to adjourn - granted - 17 February 2022

Resumed Hearing 25 April 2022

Application by Mr Tyrrell to conduct the hearing in private

114. The hearing resumed on 25 April 2022. Mr Tyrrell made an application to conduct the remainder of the hearing in private.

115. The Panel accepted the legal advice about the interests of justice and the open justice principle. The Panel was mindful of the HCPTS Practice Note on private hearings which states:-

“Article 6 of ECHR which provides that proceedings may be held in private - “to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the [Panel] in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.” The narrow scope of that Article means that the exercise of the “interests of justice” exception should be confined to situations where it is strictly necessary to exclude the press and public and where doing otherwise would genuinely frustrate the administration of justice.”

116. The Panel was mindful of the open justice principle and found that there was no proper basis for departing from it. It is a fundamental principle that can only be departed from where it is “strictly necessary” to do so. Whilst the Panel took account of Mr Tyrrell’s concerns, they do not amount to circumstances that give rise to an exception to the open justice principle. It is not in these circumstances strictly necessary in the interests of justice to conduct the hearing in private.

117. The Panel refused the application, but it decided that, if and when any health issues arise, it is appropriate to have those parts of the hearing heard in private as Mr Tyrrell is entitled to privacy in that regard. The Panel requested that Mr Tyrrell provide the police reference and police statement in respect of the assault he had told the Panel about.

118. The cross examination for Mr Tyrrell was resumed. Ms Reid asked Mr Tyrrell about Particular 1 (c) of the Allegation, regarding the alleged sending of messages to Child A that the HCPC say were inappropriate and/or sexual. Mr Tyrrell said he accepted some of these messages were sent but were not inappropriate and were not sexual.

119. Ms Reid referred to the text messages in Schedule B of the Allegation. He agreed he had sent the message to Child A “you have the figure to pull it off.” Mr Tyrrell said that was just a reference to the Child A being skinny. He agreed he had sent texts saying to Child A that “you were in my dream last night” and then as alleged at (i) “night pup sleep well.” He said he had called Child A “pup” which he said was a reference he said the police made to police dogs. He denied this was sexual, intimate or inappropriate and puppy walking had previously been discussed between them.

120. Mr Tyrrell was also referred to messages (ii), (iii) & (iv) which he agreed he had sent to Child A. He denied these messages were inappropriate and were simply jokes. He denied he was trying to test boundaries with Child A and it had been a “light hearted” conversation. He denied the reference in the texts to Child A to beds being used for other things was a sexual reference. Mr Tyrrell did not recall sending the texts at (iv) or (vi) to Child A. He said there was nothing sexual at all in the texts.

121. With regards to message (xiii) being a joke about anal sex, Mr Tyrrell said he “probably” sent it to Child A. He said it was “banter”, a light-hearted conversation.

122. With regards to Schedule A Mr Tyrrell said he had not sent the messages to Child A and he said he was not a racist. He said that it was “unlikely” that he sent these texts. He said that they could have been inserted and manipulated. He said he was not aware he was sending them but had sent a “bulk” of jokes and these may have “slipped though the net”, although he said he had read them before he had sent them. He said if he had sent them, it was purely “banter.”

123. Ms Reid referred Mr Tyrrell to Particular 1(d) of the Allegation, regarding SECAMB incidents. He admitted that he had sent them these messages but had not identified anyone. He was not sure he recalled sending all of them but thought that he probably did so. He said that these reflected the type of jobs he was attending at SECAMB and it was his opinion that some of them were “time wasters” and “nut jobs”. He said he had been angry with the person he referred to in (vii) about a broken neck. He said it was his personal opinion and he had just been giving Child A details of the jobs he was attending.

124. Mr Tyrrell admitted that he sent the messages in Schedule B at (ix) which followed Child A’s disclosure that he was gay. Mr Tyrrell said that telling Child A that he loved him was making it clear he still loved him despite being gay. He said it was not sexual and it was meant as words of encouragement.

125. Mr Tyrrell denied sending a picture at (x) of a naked man to Child A. He said that it was a message that had been inserted by Parent A. He said the request by him for Child A to send a picture of himself to show his suntan was not sexual and was not inappropriate.

126. Mr Tyrrell admitted he sent Child A the texts about his fear of appearing to “groom” Child A. He said he had told Child A to tell his parents but some of the jokes were “raunchy.” He denied a pattern of placing responsibility on Child A and denied that there was any intimacy in the conversations. Mr Tyrrell did not recall sending to Child A messages (xiv), (xvi) or (xvii). He agreed the messages “crossed a line” but were intended as advice.

127. The messages at Schedule B (xxi) to (xxx) were put to Mr Tyrrell, beginning with a reference to “men in uniform” in October 2016. Mr Tyrrell accepted that he had sent these messages but denied that they were inappropriate or sexual. He said this was friendly “banter”. He denied that the conversations became increasingly inappropriate and sexual. Mr Tyrrell denied there was any pattern of sexualised and inappropriate behaviour by him towards Child A. He said some of the statements were “throw away” statements and there was no sexual intent. He said Child A made him feel young and was consoling and understanding. He denied “violating” any child.

128. Mr Tyrrell said that he had “no comment” to make in response to the allegations put by Ms Reid that his conduct toward Child A was inappropriate, predatory, sexual and sexually motivated.

129. Mr Reid turned to Particulars 3,4 and 5 of the Allegation, regarding the Pulse Oximeter and Blood Glucose machine. Mr Tyrrell accepted that these items came from SECAMB and that he would not have had permission to remove them. Child A’s account to the police in November 2016 and to SECAMB was that Mr Tyrrell gave them to him. Mr Tyrrell said that he gave Child A an old black pulse oximeter. He agreed the messages joked about the pulse oximeter being stolen goods, but he did not recall sending the messages. He accepted he had probably sent the messages to Child A about the Blood Glucose machine, but he had not given one to Child A. He said he did not take the items from SECAMB.

130. Ms Reid turned to Particular 7 of the Allegation, regarding the removal and use of Entonox. Mr Tyrrell had admitted 7 (a) taking the Entonox without permission but he said he did not see it as dishonest and said he had “borrowed” it. He said he had permission from SECAMB to carry the Entonox as a Community paramedic. He said he perceived a need to take it to the event and accepted that he had sent the 17 October 2016 messages to Child A about the Entonox.

131. In relation to Particular 7(c) of the Allegation, regarding Child A taking Entonox Ms Reid referred to his police interview where Child A reported that he took 15-20 breaths of Entonox. Child A reported it had been Mr Tyrrell ’s idea that he did so. Mr Tyrrell said that he did not allow Child A to take the Entonox despite what he later said to SECAMB and to the Police. He said his accounts were not inconsistent. He disagreed that the texts after the event indicated that he had administered and he had allowed Child A to take Entonox. Mr Tyrrell was concerned about Child A and had not reported it to SECAMB. He denied that the text conversation with Child A was encouraging that he use Entonox again.

132. In relation to Particulars 6 and 8 of the Allegation, regarding inappropriate physical contact with Child A. Mr Tyrrell denied this and said that Child A had said he had a good time. He said there were many people in McDonalds and what was alleged did not happen despite what Child A later reported to the police on 18 August 2016. Mr Tyrrell said that Child A’s second statement was obtained without meeting Child A. Mr Tyrrell said that Child A’s mother wrote the statement for Child A. He said Child A was lying under direction from his parents.

133. Mr Tyrrell responded to the Panel’s questions. He explained that there were other messages between him and Child A and he said he had provided some of them in his bundles. He said that in looking at the bundles it appeared to him that “bits” were missing as some say “messages from the recipient are blocked” which means there are missing messages. He said no one had hacked into his account but he did not know what was missing, but said it had the potential to explain his position. He said the police wiped and de-activated his face book account. He reiterated that he did not send the photograph of the naked man (Schedule B (x) and that Parent A had inserted the photograph. He accepted that such a claim was not put to Parent A by his special Counsel.

Evidence of BE

134. The Panel took legal advice about the open justice principle and the balancing of the interests of a witness with the fairness and the interests of justice. The Panel decided that BE was a vulnerable witness. The Panel decided that in these circumstances it was fair and appropriate to grant the witness anonymity and to hear his evidence in private. The Panel was also mindful that BE was a witness as to character only and not as to the facts.

Submissions on Facts for the HCPC

135. Ms Reid referred the Panel to the detailed written submissions she had provided to Mr Tyrrell and the Panel the previous day. She referred to the two testimonials produced by Mr Tyrrell that morning and submitted that these were unsigned and undated. In one instance the testimonial was anonymised, in the second instance the name at the beginning of the testimonial did not match the name at the end of the document. Both were produced in the same font as the final submission document made by Mr Tyrrell. She therefore submitted that the Panel should treat them with considerable caution. She asked that the Panel find all the allegations proved.

136. Ms Reid made submissions regarding the hearsay evidence. She submitted that the accusation by Mr Tyrrell that Parent A had fabricated evidence was not put to Parent A when she gave evidence at this hearing. She submitted that Child A’s evidence in the police interviews was a clear, consistent, compelling and plausible account of why Child A did not at the first interview raise the issues now alleged in Particulars 6 and 8 of the Allegation, regarding inappropriate physical contact.

137. Ms Reid addressed the Panel about the authenticity of the many Facebook messages exchanged between March and November 2016 between Child A and Mr Tyrrell. She submitted they were authentic and were consistent with external events. Mr Tyrrell has accepted some messages and denied others but his position was not clear or consistent. He had said in evidence that he “probably” sent many of them and did not recall others. She submitted that was an attempt to deflect and his responses in respect of the messages had changed over time. She submitted that Mr Tyrrell had variously claimed that there are missing and fabricated messages and that was not plausible. She submitted that the accusation by Mr Tyrrell that the photograph of a naked man in Schedule B (x) had been fabricated and inserted into the messages by Parent A was outrageous.

138. Ms Reid submitted that there was no plausible explanation for the messages other than that they are the messages between him and Child A in the period stated in the Allegation. She asked the Panel to consider the whole context of the messages. She submitted that at no stage does Child A ask for advice or support, yet Mr Tyrrell claims he was supporting Child A. She submitted there was a clear pattern of increasing sexual references and attempts to break down boundaries. She submitted that these messages were sexual and sexually motivated.

139. Ms Reid submitted that in relation to Particular 2 of the Allegation, and Child B that Mr Tyrrell had admitted to SA that he had sent them. She submitted these messages were all deeply inappropriate and sexually motivated and Child B does not respond or invite such messages.

140. Ms Reid submitted that Mr Tyrrell ’s explanations relating to the equipment in Particulars 3, 4 and 5 of the Allegation, were implausible. She pointed out the messages that supported these allegations, in particular the reference to stolen property by Mr Tyrrell. His suggestion that Child A took the items was not plausible.

141. In relation to Particular 7, Ms Reid invited the Panel to dismiss Mr Tyrrell ’s convoluted and implausible explanation for attending the event on 5 November 2016 which she submitted was not supported by the messages with Child A where he discusses the event and mentions taking the Entonox was “career ending” and that Child A must not tell anyone. She submitted that the messages and the police interview indicate that Mr Tyrrell was encouraging Child A to take Entonox and that he would look after him.

142. In relation to Particulars 6 and 8 of the Allegation, Ms Reid submitted that the evidence was clear that these particulars were proved. Child A’s police statement about this allegation was clear. It was understandable and credible that Child A had not disclosed these events in his first police statement. Child A also made a consistent statement to SA in the SECAMB investigation.

143. Ms Reid asked the Panel to consider all the evidence and all the messages which she submitted demonstrated a deliberate and increasing sexual content and an intention by Mr Tyrrell to break down boundaries with Child A. She submitted that the Panel should find the whole Allegation proved.

Closing Submissions for Mr Tyrrell

144. Mr Tyrrell produced for the Panel written submissions. Mr Tyrrell apologised to the Panel and to the parents of Child A and B. He said he had not shown remorse and that had been on the advice of his Counsel. He said he appreciated he had caused suffering and it was never his intention to cause upset. He said he had reflected and said he would change things. He said he had funding withdrawn and had lost Counsel and had not had papers. He said he was passionate about helping others and he said he was a decorated ex-military person who had received two commendations from the Ambulance Service. He said he was a practising Christian and said that he felt short changed as he was not intelligent or good looking. He said he had an abundance of trust in others, sometimes to his detriment. He said he had suffered attacks from others but still believed there was good in everyone.

145. Mr Tyrrell said he was always happy to help others. He said he had no job, and his reputation was in tatters. He said he had wanted Child A and Child B who were now adults, to give evidence. He said he had no intention to form any relationship with Child A. He said he has no reason to lie and he had wanted to help Child A who was talented and intelligent. Mr Tyrrell said Child A had confided in him and he became part of Child A and Child B’s lives. He said he was unwell at the time and had become reliant on Child A. He said he did not remember and did not recognise the material in the “prosecution” bundle. He said he made a mistake and he was a caring and compassionate man. He said his mistake was “monumental” and he was now paying the price. He denied he had ever intended any of his conduct to be sexual, but some jokes were “to the mark” and he apologised for that.

146. Mr Tyrrell referred to the second allegation made by Child A and said that as a result some messages were deleted and he denied any touching took place. He said Child A had continued to be in contact with him. He said Parent A had admitted putting some messages out of order. She also had poor recollection. He said 38,000 messages included 50% from Child A. He said the messages were consensual and between two people, purely an “electronic” conversation and he had over stepped the mark and in hindsight he was wrong but Child A had been understanding.

147. Mr Tyrrell said he did not recall sending the schedule A messages, and if he had he was deeply ashamed. He reiterated that it was never his intention to make any sexual references. He had not seen that it was wrong at the time. Mr Tyrrell said Child A liked me to call him “pup” and his reference to “loving” him was purely a term of endearment and was not sexual.

148. Mr Tyrrell stated that the messages he sent Child A in Schedule C were not inappropriate as they identified no one. He said with regard to the “banter” he had lost his way and he did not see then that it was clearly wrong. He said he had made a mistake with the Entonox and it was never his intention for Child A to use it. He said it was his responsibility as he had put temptation in Child A’s way.

149. Mr Tyrrell said that there was no doubt that he gave Child A a Pulse Oximeter, but it was not the one in the Allegation. Mr Tyrrell said he did not give Child A a blood glucose machine as it required training and was not set up.

150. Mr Tyrrell said that in respect of Particulars 6 and 8 of the Allegation, he had not sexually assaulted Child A.

151. Mr Tyrrell apologised to Parent A about his accusation about the naked man picture in Schedule B (x) and he would never send such a picture. He said he had been stupid and had been open and honest and had been with the police.

152. Mr Tyrrell said he had endured six years of agony and he wanted to get on with his life and this process was resurrecting the pain. He said he would like to be a paramedic and he asked the Panel to consider his years of loyal and trusted service, which he said he had lost in a matter of moments when he had been unwell and unable to make sensible judgements. He said he had now had treatment and was trying to put his life back together.

Decision on Facts:

153. The Panel accepted the advice of the legal assessor. He reminded it of the balance of probabilities and that the burden of proof lay on the HCPC, and that Mr Tyrrell need prove nothing. On hearsay evidence he referred to section 4 of the Civil Evidence Act 1994, regarding the approach to the weight to be attached to hearsay evidence. He also referred the Panel to Haris v GMC [2021] EWCA Civ 763 and Basson v GMC [2018] EWHC 505 (Admin) in respect of sexual motivation. He advised the Panel of the definition of “sexual” in section 78 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; and on dishonesty he referred to the test in Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd t/a Crockfords [2017] UKSC 67.

154. The Panel turned to the allegations and applied the balance of probabilities.

Particular 1 - Between May 2016 and November 2016, sent text messages and/or Facebook messages to Child A which:
a) Were inappropriate in terms of frequency; and/or
b) Were racially inappropriate and/or discriminatory, including those as outlined in Schedule A; and/or
c) Were inappropriate and/or sexual in nature, including those as outlined in Schedule B; and/or
d) Contained inappropriate information regarding calls you attended and/or purported to have attended in your role at SECAMB, including those as outlined in Schedule C

155. The Panel considered the evidence of the text and Facebook messages in the bundle which run to several thousand pages, some 37,968 messages in total (the messages). Schedules A, B and C are messages obtained by Parent A from Child A’s mobile telephone. Parent A confirmed in her live evidence, and in her witness statement, how and when she had obtained these messages. That evidence was not seriously challenged or disputed. Mr Tyrrell had the benefit of Special Counsel at this stage in the proceedings and she cross examined Parent A on Mr Tyrrell ’s behalf. Indeed, the Panel noted that Mr Tyrrell had been represented by Counsel in these proceedings until the preliminary hearing on 31 January 2022.

156. Mr Tyrrell was cross examined at length and in considerable detail on many of the messages, including, but not limited to, those in Schedules A, B and C to the Allegation. Mr Tyrrell denied he had sent any of the messages in Schedule A. Mr Tyrrell did not challenge the authenticity of the messages in Schedule B, other than Schedule B (x), and he admitted sending the messages in Schedule C to Child A.

157. Mr Tyrrell ’s evidence focussed almost entirely on providing a rationale, context and explanations for the many messages. He admitted many of them were sent by him, and he said that he could not recall sending others due to the passage of time. He repeatedly accepted in cross examination that he “probably” and “likely” sent the messages. He did not dispute that there was a considerable number of messages. He variously accepted in his evidence that the messages were “wrong” and “close to the mark”.

158. The Panel rejected the evidence of Mr Tyrrell that some of the messages had been fabricated by Parent A. He was not able to plausibly or credibly explain how that would have occurred. He bears considerable animosity toward Parent A whom he appears to blame for his current circumstances and whom he has repeatedly claimed in his evidence manipulated Child A in respect of his evidence to the police. He also accused Parent A of fabricating the message containing the picture of the naked man at schedule B (x) and claimed it was her partner, a claim he later retracted. These claims were, in addition, never put to Parent A.

159. The Panel did not to any extent accept the evidence of Mr Tyrrell in this regard. His evidence was not credible or plausible. His evidence appeared to an extent to be driven by a desire to make baseless accusations about Parent A. The Panel concluded that the messages that appear in schedules A, B and C were authentic and are what they purport to be, that is thousands of messages between Mr Tyrrell and Child A in the period alleged.

160. The Panel was mindful that these messages take place between a 56 year old adult, Mr Tyrrell, and a 14 year old child, Child A. Mr Tyrrell was the adult in a position of trust, authority and power, and in a profession in which Child A had expressed an interest. There was a significant and inherent power imbalance between the parties throughout the whole interaction in the period alleged. The Panel found that this was a highly significant issue which it remained mindful of throughout its consideration of the entire Allegation.

Particular 1 a) - Proved

161. The Panel considered the messages and the evidence from Mr Tyrrell and Parent A. It is not disputed that there were a very considerable number of messages, the precise figure is not material. The messages took place between an adult and a child. They occurred in a period of some seven months between May and November 2016. The Panel concluded that the messages were inappropriate in terms of frequency.

Particular 1 b) - Proved

162. Mr Tyrrell ’s position on the texts in Schedule B was unclear and somewhat inconsistent. He denied sending them to Child A. He said he did not recall specific texts and said he was ashamed “if” he had sent them. His position lacked cogency, coherency or credibility. The Panel did not accept his evidence in that regard. It did not believe Mr Tyrrell.

163. Parent A gave live evidence about how she obtained the messages and Child A’s written statement is consistent with that and confirms that the messages were obtained from his telephone and he responded to them. If they were not sent by Mr Tyrrell that makes little sense. Child A clearly understood they were being sent by Mr Tyrrell. There was no evidence that Mr Tyrrell ’s telephone was ever used by someone else or that the messages had somehow been fabricated. The Panel preferred the evidence of Parent A and Child A.

164. The messages make highly derogatory and racist comments about Muslims, Black people, Chinese people and Romanian Gypsies. They use racial slurs and jokes about killing immigrants and suffocating migrants. The Panel found that the messages in Schedule A are of the most offensive, inappropriate nature and are racist and discriminatory. The Panel found this sub-particular proved.

Particular 1 c)

165. The Panel was mindful of the definition of “sexual” in the Sexual Offences Act 1995, section 78: -

“…an activity is sexual if a reasonable person would consider that–

(a) whatever its circumstances or any person’s purpose in relation to it, it is because of its nature sexual, or

(b) because of its nature it may be sexual and because of its circumstances or the purpose of any person in relation to it (or both) it is sexual.”

166. The Panel considered the 30 messages in schedule B. These were put to Mr Tyrrell in an extensive cross examination. Mr Tyrrell admitted sending 17 messages and denied another 13. He also said that he “probably” and “likely” sent them. There is no evidence they were fabricated or false or were somehow inserted in to the chain of messages obtained from Child A’s telephone by Parent A. The Panel concluded that the most likely explanation is that all of these messages are authentic and were sent by Mr Tyrrell to Child A. As expressed above, the Panel does not accept Mr Tyrrell ’s denials in respect of some of the messages, and it found that he sent all of the messages in schedule B as alleged.

167. The Panel took account of that fact that Mr Tyrrell accepted he send four particular messages all of which it found were overtly sexual: -

xxvii. ‘You have a perfect figure. Keep it. Well proportioned’ - on or around 10 November 2016

xxviii. ‘Your as old as the man you feel. I feel 15’ - on or around 14 November 2016

xxix. ‘Nothing on tv that interests you…Time for the porn then lol’ - on or around 19 November 2016

xxx ‘Perhaps I should get you a dildo and lube for Christmas’ - on or around 19 November 2016

168. The Panel considered all of the messages alleged in schedule B, and those put to Mr Tyrrell in cross examination. The Panel found that Child A did not lead the conversations. Child A did not raise sexual matters. On the occasions where sexual matters and references arise in the messages it is at the instigation of Mr Tyrrell. Child A responds but does not elaborate or develop the conversation, it is Mr Tyrrell who persists. The Panel considered it was appropriate to consider the messages individually and as a whole and in the context of the wider messages in the bundle. The power imbalance and the fact that these messages are between a 56 year old man and a 14 year old boy is also highly relevant to the Panel ’s analysis of the messages and the consideration of whether they were appropriate and/or sexual in nature.

169. Some messages are overtly sexual making direct reference to sucking dick (v); anal sex (xiii); an erection (xi); a naked man (x); sucking and stroking (xvi); time for porn (xxiv) and, most graphically, dildo and lube (xxx). Other messages, whilst less overt, are nonetheless sexual such as to what Child A does in the shower (xxv); striptease (xxi); asking Child A if naked men excite him (xvii) and asking Child A for a photo “to bring out at an appropriate moment” (xxii). Many others refer to Child A as “pup” with Mr Tyrrell repeatedly telling Child A that he “loves” him. Mr Tyrrell also makes several references to Child A’s appearance and his body.

170. The Panel concluded that all the messages in schedule B are inappropriate, and all are sexual. The Panel concluded that each message is part of a deliberate and sustained pattern of escalating behaviour by Mr Tyrrell to test Child A’s susceptibility to sexual suggestion. The Panel found that there was an increasing intimacy and intensity in the messages with increasing sexual references, perhaps reaching its height with the crude, manifestly sexual message Mr Tyrrell sent a comment Child A about buying him “a dildo and lube for Christmas” (xxx). The messages are lascivious, many are lewd, and all are sexual. The Panel found this proved.

Particular 1 d) Proved

171. Mr Tyrrell initially denied this allegation, but in the course of his cross examination he accepted that he had sent the messages in schedule C to Child A. These messages criticise and make jokes about service users and mock their suffering and health conditions. Mr Tyrrell said in evidence that as he did not identify any service users he considered the messages were not inappropriate. The Panel disagree. These 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. The messages were inappropriate and contained inappropriate information regarding calls Mr Tyrrell attended in his paramedic role at SECAMB. This is found proved.

Particular 2 - Between August 2016 and November 2016, sent text and/or Facebook messages to Child B of an inappropriate and/or sexual nature, including those listed in Schedule D – Proved

Schedule D

i. ‘I reached down and he was naked with the most enormous erection’
ii. ‘Good what about lube and condoms. Or are you bare back’
iii. ‘I went bareback’
iv. ‘Yes I love Child A to bits and I have so much respect and time for him’

172. The Panel heard clear and consistent evidence from SA about the messages alleged. Child B was 16 at the time. SA’s evidence was not seriously challenged. Mr Tyrrell had previously admitted to sending these messages to Child B to SA at the SECAMB investigation when Mr Tyrrell is recorded as stating “yes I must have sent them.” SA said in live evidence that he had seen these messages on Child B’s mobile phone at the meeting he had with him, and when his parent had provided SA with screenshots. These messages are also later discussed by Mr Tyrrell with Child A. Under cross examination Mr Tyrrell accepted that messages (i), (ii) and (iii) were sexual.

173. The Panel noted that there are further messages exhibited which show Mr Tyrrell pressing Child B for information about Child B’s sexual activity with Child A.

174. The Panel accepted SA’s evidence and found that these messages were authentic. All four of the messages are manifestly sexual in nature. With section 78 in mind the Panel found that a reasonable person would consider that these texts were sexual. Texts (i) – (iii) are overtly sexual making reference to “an enormous erection”, lube and condoms and “bareback,” a reference to anal sex. Message (iv) says “Yes I love Child A…” and the Panel found that was also sexual in nature.

175. The Panel concluded, mindful of the age difference between Child B and Mr Tyrrell, that these messages were both inappropriate and sexual in nature. This is found proved.

Particular 3 - Took the following items from your employer without permission:

a) Pulse Oximeter serial number 130700330;
b) Blood Glucose Machine serial number 1380181 16041.

Particular 4 - In or around the summer of 2016, gave Child A the Pulse Oximeter referred to at particular 3.a) above.

Particular 5 - On or around 05 November 2016, gave Child A the Blood Glucose Machine referred to at particular 3.b) above.

176. Particulars 3, 4 and 5 of the Allegation stand or fall together. All are found proved.

Particulars 3 a) & 3b) – Proved

177. Mr Tyrrell ’s evidence was that he had given Child A a pulse oximeter and a blood glucose machine. He said these were not the same items that were later seized by the police from Child A. There is no evidence about the specific serial numbers. The evidence from SA was that the items seized by the police from Child A were checked by him and the SECAMB records showed that the two items were part of a batch sent to SECAMB and were therefore SECAMB property. The Panel accepted the evidence of SA.

178. The Panel concluded that it was most unlikely that Child A would be found in possession of these two items, being the same pieces of equipment as those admittedly given to him by Mr Tyrrell, but they were not the same items that Mr Tyrrell had earlier given to him. That would mean Child A would have had two sets of the same items. Where would he have got the second set? Mr Tyrrell appeared to suggest that Child A may have stolen the items from the SECAMB depot that were later seized by the police. The Panel found that an implausible and incredible scenario with no evidential basis. Further, Child A told the police and the SECAMB investigation that the items they seized from him were those given to him by Mr Tyrrell. The items are also discussed in messages between Mr Tyrrell and Child A.

179. The Panel concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, the two items found in Child A’s possession by the police were exactly the same two items that Mr Tyrrell had previously given to him in Summer 2016 and 5 November 2016. These items were the property of SECAMB as alleged. The Panel found particulars 3, 4 and 5 of the Allegation proved.

Particular 6 - On or around 05 November 2016, engaged in inappropriate physical contact with Child A, in that you put your hand on Child A’s genitals, on top of his trousers, and squeezed - Proved

180. The Panel considered the transcript of Child A’s police interview on 18 August 2017 and the SECAMB statement made by Child A on 6 September 2017. This is hearsay evidence and the Panel is required to decide what weight to attach to this evidence. The Panel did not hear from Child A.

181. Child A reported this incident and made two statements about 8 and 10 months after the alleged incident the previous November. The incident allegedly took place in MacDonalds. That Mr Tyrrell and Child A went to MacDonalds together on 5 November was not a matter of any dispute.

182. Mr Tyrrell denied this incident took place. He stated that it was not possible that it happened as MacDonalds had been a busy public place and there was also CCTV. He was in the queue with Child A and he stated he could not have done what is alleged as he would have been seen by others. The Panel noted that the allegation does not contain any particular time period for the touching alleged.

183. The Panel was mindful that the evidence supporting this allegation is the hearsay evidence contained in Child A’s two statement. It considered the factors in the Civil Evidence Act 1995, section 4, in particular:

2(b) - “whether the original statement was made contemporaneously with the occurrence or existence of the matters stated”

(d) whether any person involved had any motive to conceal or misrepresent matters;

(e) whether the original statement was an edited account, or was made in collaboration with another or for a particular purpose”

184. In the transcript of the police statement made in August 2017, Child A is recorded as stating: - “In McDonalds ... I said something to embarrass him and he, and he turned round and went, ‘Oh you little shit’, and he went to hit me but instead he just put his hand down low ... onto my front area and left it there for about 5/6 seconds and squeezed and then moved his hand off, and then turned and said to me, ‘He should probably be more careful where he put his hand in public on me.’”

185. In the statement made to SECAMB in September 2017 by Child A he stated: - “We did the event and then afterwards he said he wanted to buy me a burger from McDonalds. When we were ordering the food, in the queue, I said a joke and Nicholas said ‘you little shit’ and pretend to hit me jokingly but instead put his hand on my penis and balls over my trousers. 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. He moved it away and said that he should be careful where he puts his hands whilst we are in public. I was just too scared and embarrassed to tell anyone.”

186. Child A’s two statements are consistent. They are, however, not contemporaneous with the alleged incident. The police transcript is from a police interview with Child A on 18 August 2017 in a formal, recorded setting. The Panel found that this was not an edited account. Significantly, the interview took place and was recorded by the police for the purpose of a criminal investigation. The Panel noted that it took place under the “ABE” – Achieving Best Evidence protocol. The Panel found that Section 4, factor 2(e) was engaged and it found that this factor lends significant reliability and weight to Child A’s account as recorded in the police interview transcript, which is consistent with Child A’s statement made later to SECAMB.

187. Section 4(2) d) is also engaged as the Panel found that Child A had no reason to lie or misrepresent matters. The Panel rejects the unsubstantiated, and self-serving evidence of Mr Tyrrell that Child A was manipulated by Parent A and was lying in this second police interview. Given the nature and gravity of the incident it is entirely understandable that Child A would be reluctant to disclose what had happened. That is typical and understandable behaviour given the alleged conduct and the Panel found that the delay in disclosure did not undermine the credibility or reliability of the evidence of Child A in this regard.

188. The Panel found that Child A’s account of this incident is in accord with the whole context in which Mr Tyrrell is sending increasingly sexual messages to Child A. In the context of an escalation in the intensity of Mr Tyrrell ’s relationship with Child A, which the Panel has concluded included many inappropriate and sexual messages, the Panel reached the view that Child A’s accounts of this incident are credible, plausible and reliable.

189. The Panel considered the context and all the circumstances, and it concluded that it did not believe Mr Tyrrell’s account. Even in a busy MacDonalds it found it was possible and plausible that a brief touch of Child A’s genital area by Mr Tyrrell was possible and would not likely have been noticed by others.

190. The Panel considered that there was a consistency, plausibility and credibility in Child A’s accounts. The Panel decided that it preferred Child A’s version of events. It concluded that it was appropriate to attach weight to Child A’s consistent and reliable accounts. The Panel decided that it was more likely than not that what Child A reported took place. The Panel found this allegation proved.

Particular 7 - On or around 05 November 2016:
a) took Entonox from your employer without permission;
b) brought Entonox belonging to SECAMB to a fireworks event at Child A’s school without permission and/or clinical justification;
c) administered Entonox to Child A without clinical justification and/or allowed Child A to self-administer Entonox without clinical need

191. Particular 7 (a) - Mr Tyrrell admitted this particular. He said he had “stupidly borrowed” the Entonox from his employer, SECAMB, on or around 5 November 2016. SA told the Panel that Entonox is a medical gas used for pain relief and can cause dizziness and can make patients feel lightheaded. SA said Mr Tyrrell had not sought permission to remove Entonox and he stated that Mr Tyrrell in attending the fireworks event was not acting in his capacity as a paramedic and was not representing SECAMB. Mr Tyrrell admitted in his investigatory interview at SECAMB with SA that he did not have permission to take the Entonox. The Panel accepted SA’s evidence and preferred it to that of Mr Tyrrell. The Panel found this particular proved.

192. Particular 7 b) - Mr Tyrrell admitted that he took Entonox from SECAMB, and he took it to the fireworks event at Child A’s school. He sought to explain and justify why but did not deny that he had done so. SA said in his evidence that Mr Tyrrell was not at that event in any official capacity, and he had no permission to take Entonox from SECAMB.

193. The Panel found the explanations and justifications from Mr Tyrrell about taking the Entonox to the event and its clinical justification convoluted, incoherent and incredible. He suggested that he was attending as a community paramedic, and it was his professional judgement that Entonox may be needed. He said he was trying to help the community and the school in doing so, and he claimed that the school had failed to follow safety rules. The Panel did not accept Mr Tyrrell ’s evidence in that regard and it preferred the evidence of SA. There was no evidence that there was any clinical justification for taking the Entonox to the event and Mr Tyrrell did not credibly or plausibly provide any such justification in his evidence. The Panel found this particular proved.

194. Particular 7 c) - Mr Tyrrell in his evidence sought to explain what occurred. He said that it was a “controlled environment” and said that he had left Child A with the Entonox and went to have a cigarette outside. He said when he returned to the room Child A had taken Entonox. He could not explain how it was that he told police Child A had taken 20 breaths when he was not, on his account, present in the room. Mr Tyrrell ’s own account is therefore that he allowed Child A to take the Entonox.

195. There was no evidence that there was any clinical need for Child A to take Entonox and there was no suggestion in any evidence before the Panel that Child A required pain relief. It is implicit in Mr Tyrrell ’s evidence that there was no clinical justification for Child A to take Entonox.

196. Ms Reid in her closing submissions drew the Panel ’s attention to the police statement made by Mr Tyrrell and Child A about this incident, and the many messages exchanged between Mr Tyrrell and Child A regarding Entonox after the event. Child A in the police statement states that Mr Tyrrell offered to let him try the Entonox “fully protected”, no doubt by Mr Tyrrell’s presence. Child A told the police about how he had felt he was becoming unconscious, and that Mr Tyrrell had said make sure your belt is “nice and loose”. Child A told the police that Mr Tyrrell seemed to be “just mucking about going for my pocket or something.”

197. Mr Tyrrell told the police a markedly different version of events from those he told the Panel in his live evidence. He told the police that he had not left Child A and gone for a cigarette, but that he was in the room and that Child A took the Entonox of his own accord. He then told the police that he, Mr Tyrrell, had asked Child A to try it and he had stopped him after about 20 breaths. The Panel found that Mr Tyrrell’s version of events to the Panel was significantly different from that he gave to the police and from that of Child A in his police statement. The Panel did not believe Mr Tyrrell.

198. The Panel noted that there were also many messages between Child A and Mr Tyrrell after the 5 November 2016 event where Mr Tyrrell raised the subject of taking Entonox and its effects are discussed. Mr Tyrrell asks Child A if he had liked the Entonox and states “perhaps take it to the net stage next time…Keep on until you become unconscious….you have to be lying down…belts and collars need to be loosened.” Child A initially thinks he means alcohol, but Mr Tyrrell persists with the Entonox discussion.

199. The Panel concluded that Mr Tyrrell allowed Child A to self-administer Entonox without clinical need and found this particular proved.

Particular 8 - On or around 05 November 2016, engaged in sexual activity with yourself in the presence of Child A.

200. This allegation is linked in time and place to Particular 7 of the Allegation, as this incident is alleged to have taken place during the incident with the Entonox. The Panel was mindful that it has found particular 7 proved and that consequently the time, place and situation in which this allegation is made has also been established. Child A told the police, as is recorded in the transcript of the interview on 18th August 2017 that:- “there are a few things I held back from my original interview…I was too scared and ashamed and embarrassed just to speak out to the Detective or Police Officer there...the first thing was that err during the Entonox incident ... he was encouraging me to take more and more breaths of, of Entonox and, and during so he had his hand... he put his hands down his pants to the front area and started playing with himself and ... Yeah he was doing that but obviously I stopped and came around a bit more and then realised what, what it was but refused to accept it, if you like, accept what had happened.”

201. In response to further questioning, Child A explained that when Mr Tyrrell encouraged him to take the Entonox, he was sat down in a chair in the classroom and took Entonox through a mouthpiece on the Demand Valve. He stated to the police that Mr Tyrrell had his hand in his trouser for “pretty much the whole duration” but then “he took his hands out before I finished and put them on my, the sides of my head, like that, to make sure I didn’t fall over off the chair.”

202. Child A’s account to the SECAMB investigation in September 2017 is highly consistent with his police statement: - “Because we were there early Nicholas Tyrrell showed me the equipment he had with him and showed me how to administer Entonox. He put it all together and then got me to suck on the delivery tube. He encouraged me to take deep breaths and he seemed to want me to take a lot. He made me take over forty deep breaths I would think. While he did this he was supporting my body and head. I really don’t recall what happened then as the Entonox has made me unaware of what was happening to me, I remember it being scary. 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.”

203. The Panel was mindful that these statements are hearsay and were made some time after the events. The Panel took account of section 4 and the factors regarding the weighing of hearsay evidence and testing its reliability: -

“2 (b) whether the original statement was made contemporaneously with the occurrence or existence of the matters stated;

(d) whether any person involved had any motive to conceal or misrepresent matters;

(e) whether the original statement was an edited account, or was made in collaboration with another or for a particular purpose”

204. Child A’s two statements are highly consistent. They are, however, not contemporaneous with the events. The police transcript is from a police interview with Child A on 18 August 2017 in a formal setting. As stated above in respect of Particular 6 of the Allegation, the Panel found that this is not an edited account and, significantly, it was made by the police for the purpose of a criminal investigation. The Panel found that Section 4, factor 2(e) is engaged. It found that lends significant reliability and weight to Child A’s account as recorded in the police interview transcript.

205. Further, section 2 (d) is engaged as the Panel found that Child A had no reason to lie or misrepresent matters. As stated above, the Panel has rejected the unsubstantiated, and self-serving evidence of Mr Tyrrell that Child A was manipulated by Parent A and that he was lying in this second police interview. Given the nature and gravity of the incident it is entirely understandable that Child A would be reluctant to disclose what had happened. As stated above in respect of Particular 6, this is typical and not at all unusual given the alleged conduct. The Panel found that the delay in disclosure did not undermine the reliability or credibility of Child A’s evidence in this regard.

206. Mr Tyrrell denies this took place. He told the Panel about his state of mind at the time of the events and that he was “mentally unstable and a danger to myself and presumably others…a ticking time bomb”. He stated in his evidence that he was suffering from dissociation.

207. The Panel found that Child A’s account of this incident is in accord with the whole context in which Mr Tyrrell ’s is sending increasingly sexual messages to Child A. The messages to Child A, initiated by Mr Tyrrell, after the event about the Entonox are telling. Mr Tyrrell was actively encouraging him to “take it to the next level” with regard to taking Entonox in his presence, with no clinical justification. “Loosening belts” is mentioned by Mr Tyrrell and there is no clinical reason for that. The Panel decided that these messages and this context reveals that Mr Tyrrell had a clear sexual interest in Child A.

208. The Panel considered the context and all the circumstances, including the nature and intensity of Mr Tyrrell s’ messages to Child A, Mr Tyrrell bringing Entonox to the event without clinical justification, allowing Child A to self-administer Entonox alone in his presence without clinical need and knowing its likely effect. The Panel concluded that it was reasonable to infer from this context that Mr Tyrrell deliberately allowed Child A to take Entonox in order to seek some level of sexual gratification with or from Child A.

209. The Panel was mindful of the context, which the Panel has found included the sending by Mr Tyrrell of many sexual and inappropriate messages to Child A. In this sexualised context, and in all the circumstances found proved, in particular allegation 7, the Panel reached the view that Child A’s accounts of this incident are credible, plausible and reliable.

210. The Panel concluded that it was appropriate to attach weight to Child A’s consistent and reliable accounts. The Panel decided that it was more likely than not that what Child A reported took place. The Panel found this allegation proved in that Mr Tyrrell engaged in sexual activity with himself in the presence of Child A.

Particular 9 - The matters set out at paragraphs 1(a) and/or 1(b) and/or 1(c) and/or 1(d)and/or 2 and/or 6- and/or 7 and/or 8 were sexually motivated.

211. The Panel was mindful of the advice in the Basson and Haris cases. It has carefully considered the whole context and circumstances including the findings at Particulars 1 and 2 of the Allegation, that the messages were sexual in nature. The Panel, taking the evidence as a whole, reached the conclusion that Mr Tyrrell has demonstrated a pre-meditated and deliberate course of conduct, a campaign, with respect of Child A which sought to test and to breach proper personal and sexual boundaries with a view to seeking a sexual relationship with Child A.

212. Mr Tyrrell ’s conduct was highly persistent and sustained in the period under consideration. In that period, he sent thousands of inappropriate and sexual messages to Child A, a child of 14 who trusted and respected him. Mr Tyrrell abused and exploited that trust and sought to use the significant power imbalance inherent in the relationship to encourage Child A to have sexual discussions with him and to disclose his sexual activities, including those with Child B.

213. Mr Tyrrell also brought Child A’s boyfriend, Child B, into his campaign and he actively encouraged Child B to disclose details of his sexual activity with Child A, in part by disclosing his own past sexual history.

214. Mr Tyrrell has sought to explain and rationalise this course of conduct. He repeatedly described the messages as friendly “banter” that was invited by Child A. The Panel did not find any evidence that Child A encouraged or invited this conduct or the messages. In any event, as a child even if Child A had done so that could never excuse or justify Mr Tyrrell ’s conduct. Mr Tyrrell also stated he was supporting Child A and trying to help him.

215. Having considered the messages and his conduct the Panel did not find any basis for that assertion, and it did not find this explanation credible. Neither Mr Tyrrell ’s evidence nor any other evidence before the Panel offered any plausible, alternative explanation for his conduct. The Panel was mindful, and did not lose sight of the fact, that many of the messages were overtly sexual and there could be no other motivation for sending them than a sexual one.

216. The Panel was aware that the conduct in Particulars 3, 4 and 5 of the Allegation, may not appear to be obviously sexually motivated, but the Panel inferred that this conduct was sexually motivated from all the surrounding circumstances and context. The Panel found that the conduct in 3, 4 and 5 was part of a deliberate and escalating course of conduct pursued by Mr Tyrrell to develop and deepen his relationship and build trust and intimacy with Child A. The Panel found that Mr Tyrrell pursued this course of conduct in pursuit of a sexual relationship with Child A.

217. The Panel having considered all the evidence, and having considered whether there was any alternative, plausible explanation for his conduct, decided that the only plausible, credible and rational conclusion to be drawn from the facts is that Mr Tyrrell ’s conduct in respect of Particulars 1(a), 1(b), 1(c), 1(d), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Allegation, was all sexually motivated. The Panel found that all of the facts and conduct found proved were motivated by Mr Tyrrell in pursuit of a sexual relationship with Child A and in pursuit of sexual gratification.

Particular 10 - The matters set out at paragraphs 3(a)and/or 3(b) and/or 7 (a) and/or (7) (b)were dishonest.

218. The Panel considered the test in Ivey and it took account of the fact that Mr Tyrrell did not consider he had been dishonest. It concluded that by the standards of ordinary, decent people the conduct found proved in Particulars 3 (a), 3 (b), 7 (a) and 7 (b) of the Allegation, was dishonest and it found this allegation proved.

Resumed Final Hearing on 24 October 2022

219. The hearing resumed on Monday 24 October 2022. The Panel moved to the next stage to hear submissions on whether the facts found proved amounted to misconduct and, if relevant, on the issue of current impairment of Mr Tyrrell’s fitness to practice.

Privacy/Special Measures application by Mr Tyrrell

220. Mr Tyrrell sought that he attend the hearing but not appear on camera. He expressed concerns for his safety and his private life which he said had been abused. He said he had reported matters to the police but that they were not interested.

221. The Panel heard from Mr Smart who reminded the Panel of the importance of the open justice principle and the interests of justice. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who reminded it of the relevant rules and the need for fairness, the interests of justice and the importance of the open justice principle.

222. The Panel was mindful of the open justice principle and fairness to Mr Tyrrell. The Panel took account of the concerns expressed by Mr Tyrrell but noted that there is no information before it to independently verify any of those concerns. The Panel balanced the interests of Mr Tyrrell with the central importance of the open justice principle and the public interest in proceedings and was mindful of the HCPC Practice Note on conducting hearings in private. It was also mindful of its decision on conducting the hearing in private at the outset of this hearing (as set out in paragraphs 8 -15 above).

223. To allow Mr Tyrrell to give evidence without being seen on camera would be an exceptional arrangement and the Panel considered it was not proportionate or fair, nor was it strictly necessary. It would prevent the Panel, who are attending remotely, and the public observers, who are also attending remotely, from seeing Mr Tyrrell. The Panel was not satisfied that it was fair or appropriate in all the circumstances to allow that arrangement, which would be a significant and unjustified departure from the open justice principle. The application was therefore refused.

224. Mr Tyrrell took strong objection to the decision of the Panel and said his human rights were being abused. He said the Panel were denying him a fair trial, his right to a private life and this case was a “witch hunt”. He said he had been told he was a liar. He referred to his human rights, and to articles 3, 5 and 8 (of the European Convention on Human Rights) and said he was being punished. The Panel indicated that Mr Tyrrell was being abusive and disruptive, and he was provided with a short adjournment to consider his position. He returned to the hearing and appeared before the Panel on camera.

Submissions on Misconduct and Impairment of fitness to practice

225. Mr Smart for the HCPC reminded the Panel of its findings on the facts particularly as to racist comments, sexually motivated conduct, the criticisms of service users, the dishonesty found, the sexually motivated touching and unjustified administration of Entonox. Mr Smart referred to Roylance v GMC (no 2) [2000] 1 AC 311 where misconduct was defined as “a word of general effect, involving some act or omission which falls short of what would be proper in the circumstances.” He also referred to Remedy UK v GMC [2010] EWHC 1245 (Admin), regarding the conduct of a Registrant outside their professional role, and to the guidance regarding morally culpable behaviour which damages the reputation of the profession.

226. Mr Smart submitted that Mr Tyrrell had breached the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016), standards,1.7, 2.7, 6.2 and 9.1 and the Paramedics Standards of Proficiency, standards 2.2, 2.4 and 6. He submitted that taken together, or individually, the conduct found proved was serious and amounted to misconduct. He submitted that the facts suggested that Mr Tyrrell used and abused his role as a Paramedic to gain access to the children concerned.

227. Mr Smart referred to the HCPC Practice Note on impairment of fitness to practice and to the need to assess current fitness to practice. He referred to the personal and public component of fitness to practice, and the need for the Panel to assess insight and remediation of the behaviour found proved and the risk of repetition. He referred the Panel to the guidance in CHRE v NMC and Grant [2011] EWHC 927 (Admin) and in Cohen v GMC [2008] EWHC 581 and stressed the importance of the public interest and need to consider public confidence in the profession. He submitted that a failure to find impairment would be tantamount to an endorsement of the conduct found proved, and that there should be a finding of impairment.

228. Mr Smart referred to the statements from Child A who talks of the impact on his life that have resulted from the actions of Mr Tyrrell including suffering from anxiety and depression. Child A states that he feels “dirty and embarrassed” and lives in constant fear and is filled with shame. He states that Mr Tyrrell had “ruined my childhood” and that he has developed trust issues. Mr Smart submitted that Mr Tyrrell posed a high risk of harm, and a finding of impairment was necessary.

Evidence from Mr Tyrrell

229. Mr Tyrrell gave further evidence. He told the Panel that in 2015 and 2016 he was impaired. He said he had allowed himself to become friends with a person who “happened to be a child” and in whom he had no sexual interest. Mr Tyrrell said that he had taken that relationship too far and had communicated with Child A who had offered Mr Tyrrell solace and understanding.

230. Mr Tyrrell said he now does not use Facebook and has no conversations with anyone about his feelings and that he would never take advantage of a stranger or an anonymous person. He said he was deeply ashamed of his actions and his conversations with Child A fell below what was correct at that time. He was saddened that Child A had not pursued a career as a Paramedic.

231. Mr Tyrrell said with regards to public confidence, this was fed by social media. At the time, he said public confidence was undermined by the excess of adverse publicity and confidence in him had been undermined. Mr Tyrrell said he would likely not work again and so he was not a risk to the public as this could not happen again. If put in the same situation again, he said he would take every step to not behave this way again and would suggest that a child speak to their parents, and he would take his personal issues to professionals.

232. Mr Tyrrell said he had allowed himself to get into difficulties and that Child A was conveniently there. He said this would never happen again. He had made a serious error in taking the Entonox to the fireworks event, and he wished Child A had not taken the Entonox. He said that he had fallen short of his professional standards and let his profession down.

233. Mr Tyrrell said there was no risk of harm and it was unfortunate the case had been presented that way. He said that he had never been a risk to the public. He said he had letters complimenting his professional conduct.

234. Mr Tyrrell said he was not now impaired as he was older and wiser. He said he had insight and understanding and wanted to show compassion to all involved. He said he was shocked at himself and the shame felt by Child A. He said he could only apologise, and he had not intended to have that effect on Child A. Mr Tyrrell said during the criminal trial he had restrictions placed on him and he had not breached those and contacted Child A or the family. Mr Tyrrell said that he has since been in contact with Child A and Child B and has been invited to meet them, but he has declined to do so, but that he wanted to meet them and apologise. He said that the allegation of sexual contact with Child A was wrong as there was no evidence of that, and he denied it had happened.

235. Mr Tyrrell referred to the allegation regarding Child B. He said that the result of the findings on the facts had been devastating on him. He said misconduct was a matter for the Panel. He said that the texts showed he had committed misconduct and showed his lack of insight at the time. At no point would he ever touch a child or make any advances to a child.

236. Mr Tyrrell said these allegations took place 7 years ago and much has happened. He had housed homeless people for a time. Mr Tyrrell said that he had also assisted another person who had faced difficulties, but he was unable to produce letters from them. He said friends could provide references. He told the panel that his business had failed and he had debts and he had been working in a charity shop.

237. Mr Tyrrell said his actions were isolated and he had been impaired at the time. He said that he has since tried to demonstrate that he can look after vulnerable individuals as he had looked after two homeless people. He did not get paid for that and he said that he had helped them become better people through his example. Mr Tyrell said that the father of one of them would give evidence about that improvement. Mr Tyrrell said he had 22 exemplary years in the Forces and had served in conflicts and was known to be fair.

238. Mr Tyrrell said he wanted the opportunity to make amends and to remedy his conduct. He said he did not feel remorse but a feeling of loss and was genuinely sorry and was ashamed. He did not agree that, as stated by Child A, he had taken away Child A’s childhood and said that was a “bit harsh.”

239. Subject to cross examination, Mr Tyrrell said he had been unwell at the time. At that time, he said he was impaired. He denied the allegation proved about sexual touching and he refused to accept any of the hearsay evidence which the panel had accepted.

240. Mr Tyrrell said he had not acted deliberately in making friends with Child A, but Child A had understood him and had offered him friendship. He did not recall the messages he sent and said there was no sexual element, but he accepted that they were wrong. He said there had never been any sexual activity as alleged and that he could not admit to or accept responsibility for something that he did not do. He said he could not have insight into what he has not done.

Decision on Misconduct:

241. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who referred it to the guidance in Roylance and in Remedy UK Ltd v GMC 2010 EWHC 1245 (Admin) regarding the issue of misconduct. He referred the Panel to the case of Grant and reminded it to carefully consider the issues of insight, remediation, remorse and the risk of repetition. He reminded the Panel that both misconduct and impairment were a matter for its own professional judgment and there was no onus or burden of proof. The Panel should at all times be mindful of the importance of the public interest and the need to maintain public confidence in the profession and uphold proper professional standards.

242. The Panel was mindful of its findings of fact. The Panel has found Mr Tyrrell abused his position and the power imbalance in his relationship with Child A to seek sexual gratification with and from Child A. Mr Tyrrell touched Child A in the genital area and engaged in sexual activity with himself in the presence of Child A at a time when he had allowed Child A to take Entonox without clinical justification. Mr Tyrrell sent Child A texts that were sexual in nature, many were also highly inappropriate, derogatory and racist texts, and texts mocking service users. In addition, there are several findings of dishonesty by Mr Tyrell. Mr Tyrrell’s actions were deliberate and calculated. They were not isolated.

243. The findings against Mr Tyrrell are shocking. They are egregious. The Panel had no doubt that the allegations, whether taken individually or together, fall very far short indeed of what would have been proper in the circumstances. Whilst the conduct and behaviour, other than that relating to the use of Entonox, took place outside Mr Tyrrell’s professional practice, the conduct found proved is of such gravity that, as stated in the case of Remedy UK, the Panel found that it was conduct and behaviour of a kind which justifies “some kind of moral censure” and is “conduct which would be considered disreputable”.

244. The Panel agreed with the submissions from Mr Smart as to breach of professional codes. The Panel found that Mr Tyrrell had breached the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016), standards 1.7, 2.7 and 9.1 and the Paramedics Standards of proficiency, standards 2.2, 2.4 and 6. The Panel was particularly mindful of standard 9.1 which states:-

“9. Be honest and trustworthy - Personal and professional behaviour
9.1 You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.”

245. The Panel found that the particulars of the Allegation found proved are serious and amount to misconduct.

Decision on Impairment:

246. The Panel accepted the legal advice and it next considered the issue of impairment. It was mindful of the guidance in the HCPTS Practise Note and in the case of Grant, and the importance of the public interest. Mr Tyrrell gave evidence and was cross examined in some detail by Mr Smart. Mr Tyrrell has had since the 29 April 2022, when the findings of fact were handed down to him, to consider and reflect on those findings. The Panel took account of Mr Tyrrell’s evidence that he had faced personal difficulties at the time of the allegation, but was mindful that it had no independent verification of that.

247. The Panel found that in his evidence, Mr Tyrrell apologised, but only for sending some text messages and accepted that some were “wrong”. Mr Tyrrell was adamant that none of his conduct was sexually motivated. He refused to accept that the manifestly sexually explicit messages were sexually motivated or sexual in nature. He reiterated that he had no recollection of sending the racist messages and he said that he was not a racist.

248. Mr Tyrrell was referred to the witness impact statements from Child A. He said in his evidence that it was “a bit harsh” when Child A describes Mr Tyrrell as ruining his childhood. Mr Tyrrell appeared to have great difficulty expressing any genuine remorse or empathy for the impact of his conduct on Child A. He stated that Child A was intelligent and Child A had given him “advice” at a difficult time in his life. Mr Tyrrell reiterated that nothing he had done in his relationship with Child A was in any way sexual or sexually motivated. When confronted in cross examination with the texts to Child A containing manifestly sexual language, Mr Tyrrell refused to accept that the texts were sexual. Mr Tyrrell stated that he had not caused harm at any time. He claimed, despite being reminded of the Panels’ findings, that it was Mr Smart who was obsessed with sex in his questioning.

249. Mr Tyrrell asserted in his evidence that, at the time, his fitness to practice had been impaired but he said that he was not currently impaired. He said that he had not caused any harm at any time, and that he was not a risk to the public. He sought throughout his evidence to minimise and deflect responsibility for his conduct. The Panel found that Mr Tyrrell described his own conduct and behaviour as if it were something outside his control or direction. He said that what had happened with Child A, whilst unfortunate, was not fully his responsibility and that it had, in some way, been unavoidable and had been portrayed as something it was not. He described his relationship with Child A as being with a person “who happened to be a child”. That was blatantly an attempt to minimise his responsibility for his conduct.

250. The Panel found that Mr Tyrrell demonstrated a profound lack of insight into the impact of his conduct on Child A, Child B, or on his profession.

251. The Panel found that Mr Tyrrell demonstrated an absence of genuine remorse for the conduct and behaviour found proved by the Panel. However, he repeatedly expressed concern for himself. Mr Tyrrell stated that the regulatory process had ruined his life and that he was the victim of injustice. He sought repeatedly to portray himself as the victim. The Panel found that Mr Tyrrell demonstrated no sense whatsoever of culpability for his own actions. He resolutely refused to accept the Panel’s findings on sexual motivation.

252. The Panel considered elements of this type of conduct and behaviour were potentially remediable, however it had no evidence before it of any genuine or meaningful insight or any remediation. The Panel concluded that, in these circumstances, Mr Tyrrell is at high risk of repeating the conduct and behaviour found proved.

253. The Panel was mindful of the tests in assessing impairment in Grant expressed as follows: -

“Do the finding show that fitness to practise is impaired in the sense that:
a) Has the Registrant in the past acted and/or is liable in the future to act in a way so as to put service users at unwarranted risk of harm;
b) Has the Registrant in the past brought and/or is liable in the future to bring the profession into disrepute;
c) Has the Registrant in the past breached and/or is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the profession?
d) Has in the past acted dishonestly and/or is liable to act dishonestly in the future.”

254. The Panel concluded that all four limbs were engaged and it found that Mr Tyrrell has, and is likely in the future to place service users at risk of harm, to bring the profession into disrepute, to breach fundamental tenets of his profession, namely trust and honesty; and is likely in the future to again act dishonestly.

255. The Panel was mindful of the central importance of the public interest and the need to maintain confidence in the profession and uphold professional standards. Given the nature and gravity of the misconduct and behaviour found proved, the Panel concluded that not to find Mr Tyrrell impaired would seriously undermine public confidence in the profession and the regulator and would fail to uphold and declare proper standards.

256. The Panel concluded that Mr Tyrrell’s fitness to practice is impaired on both the personal and public components of impairment.

HCPC Submissions on Sanction

257. Mr Smart addressed the Panel and reminded it of the HCPTS Sanctions Policy and the need to act proportionately. He submitted that sanction was a matter for the Panel and was neutral as to the specific sanction.

258. Mr Smart reminded the Panel about the abuse of trust found and referred to paragraphs 48 - 49 of the Policy as to patterns of behaviour. He submitted that these issues were engaged in this case given the findings. He reminded the Panel about the dishonesty findings and the sexual touching that took place, and he described the behaviour found proved as an escalation of behaviour by Mr Tyrell.

259. Mr Smart submitted that the Panel has found little meaningful remorse or insight by Mr Tyrell, who does not accept many of the findings including sexual motivation. He submitted that Mr Tyrell blames the victim in respect of the incident with the Entonox and was “victim blaming”, has sought to minimise his behaviour and deflect blame. Mr Smart submitted that Mr Tyrell was not engaging with what he has done and did not express remorse.

260. Mr Smart referred the Panel to the Sanctions Policy on dishonesty and on abuse of a professional relationship at paragraph 45. The Registrant was trusted because he was a Paramedic and Child A wanted to be a Paramedic. He was placed in a position of trust and he abused that trust. Mr Smart referred the Panel to paragraphs 69 – 72 of the Sanctions Policy and submitted that Mr Tyrell’s behaviour had been predatory and Child A was vulnerable, being a child. He submitted there was a campaign of predation. He referred to paragraphs 77 - 79 of the Policy regarding sexual abuse.

261. Mr Smart submitted this was a very serious case which contained many aggravating features and the Panel must consider the Policy very carefully and impose the appropriate and proportionate sanction.

Submissions on Sanction from the Registrant

262. Mr Tyrell apologised to the Panel for “the incident”. With regards to the breach of trust he said it was enormous and he had breached the trust of everyone. He said he had let himself, the service and the public down, and most of all he had let down Child A and Child B.

263. Mr Tyrell said his pattern of behaviour was completely unacceptable, out of character and wrong. He said he had no excuse, but he had lacked insight at the time and had believed that he was encouraging Child A to be a Paramedic. Mr Tyrell said he was concerned about the effect on Child A, and it was “never his intention”.

264. Mr Tyrell said there was a pattern of behaviour in his messages to Child A and that some of the messages were completely unacceptable. If he could, he would “erase” that conduct. He said it was “barrack room banter” but that had never been acceptable.

265. As regards harm, Mr Tyrell said that his actions have caused untold upset and misery, confusion and harm which he did not know how to put right. He said he had tried to make amends through work in his community and working with vulnerable individuals. He said he knew he had caused harm to Child A and he wanted to try to put it right.

266. Mr Tyrell said that Child A’s statement that Mr Tyrrell had “ruined” his childhood had a huge impact on him, and that had never been his intention and he was deeply sorry. He said his relationship with Child A had been “over friendly” and “too attached” but there had been no sexual intention, but he said he can now see how it has been seen that way. He had no explanation as to why he had acted as he had, and he said he was ashamed.

267. On the findings of dishonesty, Mr Tyrell said he had fallen short of his own standards and that this had serious repercussions for the service and service users. He had not intended to be dishonest. He said he expected the Panel to take the appropriate action and said he had failed to raise his concerns with his employers and with the HCPC, but he had not wanted to cause problems for Child A.

268. Mr Tyrell told the Panel that Child A had expressed to him an interest in becoming a Paramedic and he had subsequently formed a relationship with Child A and they became friends on Facebook. He said he had allowed himself to fall below standards and he should had broken off contact with Child A until he joined the service. He said it was an inappropriate relationship and he had allowed himself to cross a line. He said he expected a “most severe” sanction.

269. Mr Tyrell said that the number of messages with Child A were considerable, and he could not explain and he had no excuse. He reiterated that he had no sexual interest in Child A. Mr Tyrell said he had taken advantage of Child A at a time when Mr Tyrrell was at his “lowest ebb” and looking for solace. He admitted that he had used his professional status to encourage the friendship with Child A. Mr Tyrell accepted that sexual misconduct was very serious but stated that “it was not the case.” Mr Tyrell said that he had not been violent. Mr Tyrrell said that he was aware of the locations of Child A and B and their families but stated that he had deliberately avoided those areas to avoid any difficulties and he wished them all well.

270. Mr Tyrell submitted there were mitigating factors and he referred to the letters he had produced from his employer and GP. He said he had suffered trauma and his situation had, at times, been intolerable. At the time his employer had arranged support. He said that was no excuse but it was part of the problem at the time. He said he had recognised his failings and addressed them with professionals. He said he could see clearly what he did was wrong and that what he felt was worse than remorse. As a Christian he had reached out to the vulnerable and he referred the Panel to the statement from the father of a person he had helped.

271. Mr Tyrell said he had done harm and he had made an “astronomical” mistake. He had damaged his own reputation and that of the service and profession. He said he was not a risk to anyone and nothing like this would ever happen again. He asked the Panel to consider the sanctions and asked the Panel to give him another chance by imposing Conditions of Practice or a Suspension Order as he would work tirelessly to restore trust. He said he wanted a second chance.

Character Witness

272. The Panel heard from JU, a character witness for the Registrant. He gave evidence in support of Mr Tyrell whom he said had positively supported his son and helped him to recover from difficulties in his life.

Decision on Sanction:

273. The Panel took account of the submissions from Mr Smart and Mr Tyrell and the evidence from the character witness. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred it to the HCPC Sanctions Policy (SP) and reminded it of the need to act proportionately and to impose the least restrictive sanction that was sufficient to protect the public and the public interest. The Panel considered the HCPC Sanctions Policy and was mindful of the need for proportionality and the importance of the public interest.

274. The Panel first considered whether there were any mitigating factors. It took account of the Registrant’s evidence when he told the Panel that he had some difficult personal circumstances at the time and that had impacted on his behaviour. Mr Tyrell repeatedly apologised but the Panel did not find that this was genuine or meaningful. Mr Tyrell consistently sought to deflect blame and minimise his misconduct by continuing to refer to the texts as “banter”.

275. The Panel was mindful of the character evidence it had heard. The witness appeared to have limited knowledge of Mr Tyrell and limited knowledge and understanding of the gravity and nature of the allegations proved. The Panel did not find that evidence to be cogent or plausible and found that it lacked any credibility or reliability and, therefore, attached no weight to it.

276. With its findings in mind, the Panel found the following aggravating factors:

• There was a gross breach of trust
• An abuse of his professional position and the inherent power imbalance with Child A
• Predatory, sexually motivated behaviour towards Child A
• A sustained and deliberate pattern of sexually motivated conduct and behaviour toward Child A
• Emotional harm caused to Child A
• Racially offensive, discriminatory and sexually explicit content in the texts and messages
• A lack of any insight into his sexually motivated conduct, the racist messages and his dishonesty
• A lack of insight into the conduct regarding the derogatory and inappropriate texts regarding service users
• A complete lack of remediation
• A lack of genuine remorse

277. The Panel has found that the misconduct is egregious. It involves abuse of trust, abuse of professional position, sexually motivated conduct and predatory behaviour towards a vulnerable child, forming an inappropriate relationship, dishonesty and racist and discriminatory conduct. The Panel was mindful of the guidance on serious cases at paragraphs 56 – 77 and found that many of the factors defining a serious case were engaged in this case.

278. Given the nature and gravity of the misconduct, the Panel decided that to take no action or to impose a Caution Order would be wholly inadequate and insufficient to protect the public and the wider public interest. To impose such sanctions would fail to mark the seriousness of the conduct and behaviour found proved.

279. The Panel next considered Conditions of Practice and considered paragraphs 106 – 111 of the SP. Mr Tyrell has shown no insight into his conduct and behaviour. The Panel has found that there is a high risk of repetition and, further, it considered that his conduct and behaviour arose from deep seated attitudinal issues about which he has no insight, and about which he appears incapable of accepting culpability. He refuses to accept that there was any sexual element to any of his misconduct. The Panel could have no confidence whatsoever, even were it able to formulate conditions, that Mr Tyrell would be able or willing to comply with conditions.

280. In any event, in the circumstances of this case, the Panel decided that Conditions of Practice would not be appropriate, workable, realistic or proportionate and would fail to meaningfully address the serious misconduct found proved. Conditions would fail to protect the public and the public interest.

281. The Panel next considered Suspension. It took account of the guidance and factors in the SP at paragraph 121. The Panel has found that the misconduct is egregious, and that Mr Tyrell has no insight, and is highly likely to repeat his misconduct. The Panel decided that, in the circumstances of this case, there is considerable evidence, not least in the profound lack of insight, remediation and lack of empathy he has demonstrated, that Mr Tyrell is unlikely to be able to resolve or remedy his misconduct.

282. The Panel found that the breach of professional standards, performance and ethics is at the very upper end of the scale. It concluded that a Suspension Order would not sufficiently mark the seriousness of this case and decided that to impose such an order would not be proportionate and would fail to maintain public confidence in the profession and fail to declare and uphold proper professional standards.

283. The Panel took account of the guidance on Striking Off Orders in the SP at paragraphs 130 – 131. It found that four of the listed nine factors in paragraph 130 were engaged, namely dishonesty, discrimination, abuse of professional position and sexual misconduct. Mr Tyrell’s misconduct was serious, persistent, sustained and deliberate and he has demonstrated no insight or remediation. He mounted a sustained campaign of sexually motivated and predatory behaviour towards a child, and he has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated in his evidence to the Panel that he is unable and unwilling to accept that his conduct was, to any extent sexually motivated, or that he caused any harm.

284. This case involves findings of an absence of insight or remediation, and a high risk of repetition of the most serious and shocking sexually motivated conduct and behaviour by Mr Tyrell towards a 14 year old child, as well as dishonesty and discriminatory and inappropriate behaviour. The Panel decided that nothing less than a Striking Off Order would be appropriate and proportionate to protect the public and the wider public interest.

285. The Panel concluded that this is properly a case where the conduct and behaviour of Mr Tyrell is of such gravity that it is fundamentally incompatible with him remaining on the register. The Panel accordingly imposes a Striking Off Order and it directs that Mr Tyrell’s name be struck from the Register.

Order

ORDER:
The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Nicholas E Tyrrell from the Register on the day this Order comes into effect.

Notes

Interim Order Application

1. In light of its findings on Sanction, the Panel next considered an application by Mr Smart for an Interim Suspension Order to cover the appeal period before the Striking Off Order becomes operative.

2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred it to the HCPTS Practice Note on Interim Orders. He reminded the Panel that an Interim Order must be necessary to protect the public, or be otherwise in the public interest, and it must act proportionately and balance the interests of Mr Tyrell with the need to protect the public.

3. The Panel was mindful of its earlier findings and concluded that an Interim Order is necessary to protect the public in the appeal period. The Panel decided that it would be wholly incompatible with its earlier findings and with the Striking Off Order imposed to conclude that an Interim Suspension Order is not necessary for protection of the public or otherwise in the public interest.

4. Accordingly, the Panel concluded that an Interim Suspension Order should be imposed on both public protection and public interest grounds. It determined that it is appropriate that the Interim Suspension Order be imposed for a period of 18 months to cover the appeal period. When the appeal period expires this Interim Order will come to an end unless there has been an application to appeal. If there is no appeal the Striking Off Order shall apply when the appeal period expires.

Interim Suspension Order:

The Panel makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest.

This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

 

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Nicholas E Tyrrell

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
24/10/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off
25/04/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard
14/03/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
31/01/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard
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