Malaria Trial Nurse Guilty Of Sex Assault

A staff nurse who sparked an international search over fears that he had contracted malaria during a drugs trial has been found guilty of sexual assault.

Matthew Lloyd, 36, from Southampton, sparked the appeal in October last year after he failed to keep an appointment in Oxford for the trial.

There were fears that he would die unless he received medical care.

Today, a jury at Southampton Crown Court took just 50 minutes to find him guilty of the attack on a waitress, then aged 20, as she walked home in Southampton on August 21 last year.

He was also found guilty of common assault.

At the time of his disappearance, Lloyd had been arrested over the incident but not charged. He was found in Holland, came back to the UK and did not contract the disease.

During the three-day trial, the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said a smiling stranger grabbed her bottom hard as she walked in Southampton city centre.

Giving evidence to the jury, she said:

''First he grabbed my bottom - it was quite painful (and) I got scared. My first thought was 'I am going to be raped'.

''I didn't know how to react. Then he turned me around, so I was face to face with him.

''He started touching me all over my body, trying to pull my clothes off.''

The woman told the jury she pressed her fingers into his windpipe to try to fight off him off as he continued to sexually assault her.

She said the only thing he said was: ''How are you doing?''

She ran into Lloyd again later and he again tried to attack her but she fended him off and got home.

''Both times he was smiling,'' she said. ''He enjoyed me being in fear.''

The court heard that she called the police the same day and picked Lloyd out of identification photographs but the nurse denied to police that he was the attacker. CCTV footage was also found showing Lloyd at the scene.

The jury was told that Lloyd was suffering from mental health problems. He was working at Southampton General Hospital at the time of the attack in the infectious disease ward.

Judge Susan Evan QC granted him bail on the condition that he stays at a psychiatric unit and the case was adjourned for sentencing on a date to be fixed.