Not proven verdict in prison rape trial

The jury returned a not proven verdict at Glasgow High Court
The jury returned a not proven verdict at Glasgow High Court

A former jail nurse was today cleared of raping three women in the prison where he worked.

Thirty-five-year-old Peter Barrowman hugged his wife just minutes after the jury came back with a not proven verdict at the High Court in Glasgow after deliberating for two hours.

Outside court the father-of-two said the jury’s verdict was “a massive relief” after a two and a half year ordeal.

He is currently suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Mr Barrowman, who was a mental health nurse at Cornton Vale Prison, Stirling, was suspended from working at Cornton Vale on March 10, 2014 after the allegations were made and he was dismissed in July last year.

The woman – all prisoners in the jail – claimed that Mr Barrowman had raped them between January and March 2014 while they were his patients.

He denied any sexual contact with the women and branded them liars.

When asked by his defence counsel solicitor advocate Liam Ewing why these women made up the allegations he said: “Possibly financial reasons or to gain access to more medication, but I don’t know.”

The three women claimed that Mr Barrowman, from Stenhousemuir, used his position as a mental health nurse at Cornton Vale prison to see them on their own and rape them.

One of the women, aged 28, alleged he groped her breasts and raped her during a counselling session.

The type of counselling practised by Mr Barrowman – EMDR – is to help people deal with traumas in their lives.

Another inmate, aged 26, claimed her raped her after allegedly telling her he hadn’t been giving her extra drugs “for nothing”.

She alleged that Mr Barrowman attacked her in a doctor’s room at the Stirlingshire prison after chatting to her about his wife and children.

A third prisoner, aged 28, alleged that Mr Barrowman raped her to the psychiatrist’s room in the health centre at Cornton Vale.

She told the court: “He told us ‘who’s going to believe you over a mental health nurse.’ I kept telling him I didn’t want sex and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. “

Mr Ewing asked Mr Barrowman: “Were you meeting with these women for reasons other than treatment?” and he replied: “No, that would have been noticed.”

Mr Barrowman was also acquitted of charges of supplying drugs to prisoners. These charges were withdrawn by the Crown before the end of the trial.