Woman denies fabricating claims against King’s Lynn hospital executive

Court news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Court news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
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A woman has denied accusing a senior executive at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital of inappropriate behaviour because he was complaining about her poor performance.

Karl Perryman, 51, is currently standing trial on one charge of stalking and one count of witness intimidation. He denies both allegations.

A jury at Lynn Crown Court has heard claims that Perryman wrote a series of poison pen letters making allegations about hospital complaints manager Joanne O’Neill after she had rejected his advances towards her.

Giving evidence at Lynn Crown Court on Tuesday, Ms O’Neill claimed she had piled up boxes in front of an inter-connecting door between her own department and the legal services unit, of which he was head, to prevent him coming in.

She told the court she had done so because she did not feel safe working late there, as the door could be unlocked from Perryman’s side.

The jury also heard she had asked for the door to be sealed and new name plates to be installed to indicate the separation of the legal and complaints departments, after which Perryman was solely the head of legal services.

But, during cross examination, defence barrister Susannah Stevens told her: “You’re coming up with complaint after complaint about Mr Perryman in an attempt to make him look as bad as possible, aren’t you?”

Ms O’Neill, who gave her evidence from behind a screen, replied: “No. I’m just telling the truth.”

But Miss Stevens said her client had repeatedly voiced concerns about the standard of Ms O’Neill’s work.

And she said of the sealed door request: “It was to stop him raising issues about your work. That’s the truth, isn’t it?”

Ms O’Neill insisted: “No. I was frightened for my safety.”

She said Perryman would make sexual comments and sexually touch her but she was too “frightened” to tell anyone.

On one occasion, she said Perryman had told her she was “incompetent”, but that he would cover it up if she massaged him.

And she claimed that, when she finally told senior bosses, they refused to get involved.

She said: “I felt the trust didn’t want to deal with the issue. I did speak out. The Trust did nothing, they said it’s a ‘different style of management.’”

But Miss Stevens claimed Ms O’Neill had not produced any evidence to support her allegations during an internal investigation.

She also alleged that Ms O’Neill had reacted angrily when she was only given additional responsibilities on a probationary basis.

The jury was also told about a friend request allegedly sent by Perryman under the alias Earnest Jones to Ms O’Neill at around the time she claims she declined a bracelet bought by him from the Ernest Jones jewellery store.

Ms O’Neill denied Miss Stevens’ suggestion that the page was a “fabrication.”

The trial continues.