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First aider John Franklin 'abused position to sexually assault women' on Maidstone Blue Bus

A volunteer first-aider with Maidstone’s Blue Bus used his position as a cover for sexually assaulting women, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

Anthony Prosser, prosecuting, said John Franklin, 39, asked a woman who came to the bus for help when she had a panic attack to strip off her clothes down to her pants so he could check her heart rate.

He then handled her breasts as he placed the pads from an ECG machine on her, Mr Prosser told the jury.

St John Ambulance worker John Franklin is accused of sex assaults
St John Ambulance worker John Franklin is accused of sex assaults

Franklin, of Kent Avenue, Sittingbourne, denies sexually assaulting a woman in December, 2011, and sexually assaulting another woman between January 2011 and April 2012.

He also denies indecently assaulting a woman in 1996 and raping her.

Mr Prosser told the court that the two alleged sexual assaults happened while Franklin was a volunteer on the Blue Bus.

“During his work on the bus other staff became concerned about some of his activities,” Mr Prosser said.

“But when challenged, Franklin said they were medically indicated.”

These activities included the incident with the woman who had a panic attack and another when Franklin pulled down the pants of a woman on the bus to examine her.

“We say these activities were sexually motivated, with Franklin using his first-aid work as a cover" - Anthony Prosser

Experts were consulted who said there was no reason for a woman to remove her bra or have her breasts touched for ECG leads to be applied.

They also said there were no circumstances when internal examinations should take place without a woman’s permission.

Mr Prosser told the jury: “We say these activities were sexually motivated, with Franklin using his first-aid work as a cover.”

Mr Prosser said that at the same time as Franklin was volunteering on the Blue Bus he was also using his time as a St John Ambulance volunteer in Sittingbourne to sexually assault women.

He had been convicted of two charges of sexual assault in the back of his own private ambulance which he had while running his own company JR Ambulance Services.

The Urban Blue Bus in Maidstone's Jubilee Square
The Urban Blue Bus in Maidstone's Jubilee Square

Mr Prosser told the jury that when this case was reported in local newspapers a woman saw it and told police that in 1996 Franklin had assaulted and raped her.

Franklin said the woman made this up, using what was in the newspapers as a way of getting back at him.

Mr Prosser told the court that by early 2012 concerns were emerging from other volunteers on the Blue Bus about Franklin and his involvement with drunk or ill women but because he was well qualified they tended not to challenge his activities.

One of the Blue Bus volunteers said Franklin regularly treated women on his own when there were supposed to be two people present all the time.

Mr Prosser said to the jury: “Was there a sexual motivation behind this touching or was it done for medical reasons? If a woman has been deceived into the reasons why a man wanted to touch her then she has not given her consent.”

The trial continues.

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