Ambulance volunteer John Franklin of Sittingbourne denies sexually assaulting women on Urban Blue Bus and one rape
An ambulance volunteer has denied carrying out intimate medical examinations on women for any sexual motive.
John Franklin also denied raping a pregnant woman 17 years ago and sexually assaulting her while re-enacting a gynaecological examination.
The 39-year-old former soldier did admit, however, that an internal “assessment” of a teenage girl in the back of his private ambulance was “misguided”.
John Franklin denies sexual assault
“In hindsight, it was a pretty blooming stupid thing to do,” he told a jury.
“It is probably pretty blooming stupid because I am here. It was, as far as I am concerned, valid training, and that’s why I did it.”
Franklin, of Kent Avenue, Sittingbourne, is accused of assaulting women while a St John Ambulance member in the town and a volunteer on the Urban Blue Bus in Maidstone providing medical help at weekends.
The married father said he went into security and then became a steel erector after leaving the Royal Engineers in 1997. He later worked in Health and Safety.
He set up J R Ambulance Services running a private ambulance. It has since ceased operating.
Franklin, who attended Sittingbourne Baptist Church, told Maidstone Crown Court the historic allegations by a woman were untrue. He denied calling her a “dirty girl”.
“Nothing like that happened,” he said. “It just didn’t happen.”
Franklin was an emergency transport attendant with St John Ambulance when he asked an 18-year-old student to let him carry out the assessment in 2012.
Defendant John Franklin outside Maidstone Crown Court
He said he told her it would involve the removal of clothes. He asked her to take her top off and loosen her bra. He claimed she asked: “Is it easier if I take it off?”
Franklin said he gave the teenager a blanket. Asked what he thought about her exposing her breasts, he replied: “If she was comfortable with it, it didn’t effect me in any way.”
He was going to do an ECG and put pads on her but then discovered he did not have the machine. He denied touching her breasts directly.
Franklin said he told the girl he wanted to check for bleeding in the groin area and she said: “That’s absolutely fine.” He said she offered to take off her knickers. He then carried out an internal examination.
“I explained everything at every point,” he continued. “She was in full agreement. I thought she was consenting entirely.”
It was “utter nonsense”, he said, that he called her a dirty girl.
Franklin said he complained about Urban Blue Bus manager Rob Garner saying that CCTV film in the examination room would be good viewing on YouTube.
“I took it as something he meant seriously,” he said. Mr Garner then made a complaint about Franklin using a rectal thermometer on a woman.
The trial is being heard at Maidstone Crown Court
Franklin said he took the woman’s temperature that way after she collapsed in the town. “I would have had her consent,” he added.
Another woman had a panic attack and complained of discomfort in her chest.
“At that point I completed an ECG,” he said. “I explained I needed to attach some leads to her. She removed her top entirely and also her bra. It was quite a hefty bra, I seem to remember.
“She rolled down the top of her tights to the top of her thighs. She was given a blanket to cover her modesty. I explained what I was doing throughout. There was no complaint from her or her boyfriend.
“I lifted her left breast with the back of my hand and placed the lead. It seemed more appropriate rather than physically cuff.”
Another ECG was carried out on a woman who had collapsed in the street and was very ill. Her bra was moved up and her breasts were exposed to place the leads.
"She rolled down the top of her tights to the top of her thighs. She was given a blanket to cover her modesty. I explained what I was doing throughout" - John Franklin
Again, he said he used the back of his hand to move her breast and gave her a blanket. He later dropped her and her boyfriend off at Maidstone Hospital.
Another woman went to the bus “in a bit of a state” through drink. He asked her if she could be bleeding from her private parts.
Franklin said she indicated she could be and he asked her if he should check. “She was wearing shorts,” he said. “I moved them to one side. I could see she was on her period. She didn’t complain at all.”
He denies raping and indecently assaulting the woman in the mid-1970s, two charges of assault by penetration and three of sexual assault.
The trial continues.
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