A Hampshire and Isle of Wight air ambulance paramedic has been struck off the medical register after being convicted of making indecent photographs of children and possessing an extreme pornographic image.
The Health & Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS) this week took the decision to strike Timothy J Ross, known as Tim, off the medical register as they deemed his fitness to practise is impaired by his conviction on the grounds of public protection.
Tim served with the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service for several years before becoming a flying paramedic with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. He then went on to work for South Central Ambulance Service. Tim was well known for his work with the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service as he was an avid fundraiser.
In August last year, at Bournemouth Crown Court, the paramedic was convicted of 3 counts of making an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child and 1 count of possessing extreme pornographic images – act of intercourse/oral sex with a dead/alive animal. He was sentenced in September to a 2-year community order with 25 days rehabilitation activity and was made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for a period of 5 years and required to sign as a sex offender for 5 years.
The tribunal hearing, which was held virtually via video conference on Tuesday this week, heard how Police had received information that the paramedic was showing a keen interest in young boys. As a result, his home address was visited and computer equipment seized. Mr Ross gave a no comment interview to Police after indecent images were found on his devices but stated he did not know where the images – of boys aged 6 to 10 – had come from and that he had not seen them before.
On 14th February 2019, the day after his interview, a referral was made to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) by Hampshire Constabulary to alert them to the situation. On 25th April, the HCPC was told by Mr Ross that he was to retire on 7th May with no intention of working as a paramedic again. It was on 14th June 2019 that he was charged with the offences and later appeared in court, on 8th August, where he pleaded guilty.
At sentencing the Judge said:
“It is a shame someone with that background, who no doubt would otherwise be commended for their life in work, finds themselves before the Court for a matter which effectively amounts to child sex abuse. Because that is what these offences amount to.
“I am satisfied from everything I have read about you that this was an isolated episode, largely driven by curiosity rather than sexual gratification”.
Tim, who did not attend the virtual hearing this week, asked for a statement to be read out instead. He stated:
“The conviction, which I pleaded guilty to, regarding the images I had on an electronic device were sent to me and not searched for and I had no control over that. Having said that I should have deleted them but I have no technical ability to do that due to poor understanding of technology.
“I still believe the images were sent by an ex from a failed relationship who had an axe to grind but I cannot afford to prove this – this has cost me thousands of pounds already and I have lost everything including friends and family.
“With regard to the viewing of images on line – any site I visited were readily available and all images were of legal age – I have never searched for images of minors.
“I have decided to take early retirement from the ambulance service and do not intend to continue with my profession and no longer wish to be registered.
“My apologies for any embarrassment I may have caused to the HCPC and the Ambulance Service.”
The HCPTS Panel concluded that Tim Ross’ fitness to practise as a paramedic was at the time, and remains, impaired on public protection grounds. The Panel found that this case is characterised by a gross abuse of trust involving the exploitation of children and took the decision to strike Timothy J Ross off the medical register.
On 7th December 2019, Tim was barred from the Children’s List and the Adult’s List by the Disclosure and Barring Service.