A paramedic accused of a string of sexual offences has said he was trying to help two of his alleged victims after they were drinking and upset.
Andrew Wheeler is accused of 18 charges against five alleged victims, three of them patients, between 2002 and 2018.
Cambridgeshire Police said the alleged offences took place while Wheeler worked as a paramedic for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust and volunteered for St John Ambulance.
He denies all the charges.
On Tuesday, he said he gave one patient he was called out to his number after he believed she was “depressed” and he “felt sorry for her”.
He had been called out in 2010 to a suspected allergic reaction but it turned out the woman had been drinking, not suffering an episode.
“She was quite a sad lady, very depressed, needed a focus of some kind to try to get out of the depression and lull that she was in,” he told Peterborough Crown Court on Tuesday.
Wheeler and his colleague went to leave but accepted an offer of a soft drink after the woman became more upset, he said.
He added that they discussed her selling items on the internet, which he said he and his friends had done, to bring in money and that he gave her his number so she could discuss it.
She told the paramedic she was a nurse and he told the court he would not have given his number to a patient if she hadn’t been, insisting he never gave it to other patients.
He denied trying to kiss the woman or trying to put her hand on him.
In another alleged incident, he was called out to a suspected cardiac arrest in 2018.
Wheeler found the patient was not suffering from a problem but was drunk, and said he drove her to her home from her friend’s house because her friend “didn’t want her there”.
He denied raping or sexually assaulting her, saying he hugged her because “she was upset, it was a natural act” after she told him about an ex-partner and wanting to detox.
His trial at Peterborough Crown Court previously heard prosecutor Noel Casey say Wheeler was “indiscriminate in who he assaulted”.
“He was abusing the trust that an NHS uniform brings with it,” he told jurors.
“We say a picture will emerge of a callous sexual abuser who at the time thought he was untouchable.
“He thought he could do anything, but, as it happened, the investigation, stage by stage elongated back over the years.
“A lot of these things have come back and they have caught up with him.”
On Monday, Wheeler denied groping a woman’s breasts in the back of his ambulance in 2010.
Defending, Jennifer Dempster QC asked her client: “Might you have come into contact with her breasts at any point?”
Wheeler said: “Yes. When you’re sat on a trolley it’s quite compact.”
He told the court he had consensual sex with the woman previously, and said if paramedics are dispatched to help someone they know they “deal with what’s in front of you”.
Wheeler admitted it was “possible” he made a remark when injecting the patient with adrenaline, such as “it’s not the first time I’ve jabbed you”, because he “was trying to lighten the mood”.
However, he denied raping her.
He is accused of raping the woman in 2009 and sexually assaulting her in the back of an ambulance in 2010, raping a patient in her home and sexually assaulting her in 2018, and placing the hand of female patient on his genitals, over his clothing, in 2010.
The 46-year-old from Warboys, Cambridgeshire, is also accused of 11 rape charges against another woman, alleged to have taken place between 2002 and 2011.
He faces two charges of sexual assault of a child aged under 13.
None of the alleged victims can be named.
The trial continues.
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