Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Anorexia Predator; Victims Sue NHS over Therapist Who Took Advantage When They Were at Their Lowest

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Anorexia Predator; Victims Sue NHS over Therapist Who Took Advantage When They Were at Their Lowest

Article excerpt

Byline: REBECCA SMITH

A SENIOR nurse at a NHS clinic sexually abused vulnerable women left in his care. David Britten targeted patients - some of them teenagers - while they were being treated for anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders.

Health chiefs admitted today that although eight of his victims had come forward, he may have preyed on many more over a 20-year period. Britten groomed the women while in charge of them at a clinic in Pimlico. The 52-yearold's reign of abuse saw him undertake private psychotherapy sessions - despite not being qualified - building their confidence and then having sex with them.

He formed relationships with the girls, often seeing several at a time, but kept each one hidden from the other and his wife. He even interfered with their treatment, lowering the target weight of one patient, saying he "liked slim girls".

But while he was manipulating the women - aged between 17 and 22 - he also lied, saying he was dying from cancer. One of his victims, now 33, weighed only four-and-a-half stone when she was admitted to the clinic. Britten singled her out and they soon began meeting secretly. The relationship became sexual and they continued seeing each other after she left the clinic. After almost 10 years in what she calls a "pseudo-relationship", she was devastated when she realised his deception.

His victim, who does not want to be named, said: "It wasn't a relationship, it was abuse. I felt betrayed by him but also by [the] system. I think I would have been a different person if I hadn't met him. I would be married with children, but that has been taken away."

The mental health trust that ran the clinic suspended Britten, of Laughton, East Sussex.

He resigned before he could be sacked after eight women complained and he was struck off the Nursing and Midwifery register last year. …

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