Male nurse 'sedated mother and raped her in hospital'

A woman with three children told a jury yesterday how she was raped in a cubicle in a Surrey hospital by a male nurse who had given her an injection.

The alleged rape victim, a 33-year-old business analyst, told the Old Bailey she had visions of Kevin Cobb having sex with her when she woke from the general anaesthetic given to her before an appendix operation at St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey.

The woman said she had not reported the rape when it happened in December 1998 because she was unsure if she was dreaming. Six months later, the woman picked out Mr Cobb "almost immediately" from a police line-up afterpublicity about the hospital's Accident and Emergency department.

Mr Cobb is also accused of the manslaughter of a 31-year-old junior sister, Susan Annis.

The business analyst cried as she said a male nurse had asked her to take her clothes off, put on a hospital gown and get on to a trolley bed. She said the injection had made her feel "warm, soothing and sleepy".

The next thing she said she remembered was being in a room with doctors who were gowned up and giving her an injection in her left hand. She told the court: "I was a bit upset and crying." After the operation, she woke up in a ward.

Asked by Victor Temple QC, for the prosecution, what came into her mind, she said: "A strange dream that I had, in the room that I had been wheeled into. When I woke, the first thing in my head was of me having sex with somebody. I knew I was having sex with the man.

"He was in the uniform he had been in when he wheeled me into the room. He was holding me up. My hair was falling down, my arms were loose.

"I was so shocked. I did not know if I had had a dream or if it actually happened to me," the woman said. She said she had kept quiet until she was able to speak to her husband alone a day later. "I wanted to report it. I didn't because I thought it was a dream - a very strange, upsetting dream." But she said she now believed that "it actually happened".

Mr Cobb, 38, of Yateley, in Hampshire, denies drugging and raping the woman at St Peter's Hospital. He also denies drugging three other women with the intention of sexually assaulting them, raping one of them and causing the death of Ms Annis, 31, by manslaughter, when her heart had an adverse reaction to the drugs and stopped beating.

Mr Cobb, who is married to a GP, is alleged to have spiked Miss Annis's drink with Midazolam, a potent sedative, before trying to rape her. They were both attending a residential course on child nursing in November 1996.

Midazolam is known to bring about amnesia in patients so that they have no recollection of any painful surgical procedure. The drug is particularly dangerous when taken with alcohol and quickly produces a deep comatose state.

This week, Ilias Kotronakis, an Australian doctor who was on the same child nursing course, told the jury he went to Miss Annis's room after she collapsed and found Mr Cobb giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The doctor gave the dying nurse a heart massage. The trial continues.

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