A MARRIED paramedic who had an inappropriate relationship with a teenage St John Ambulance cadet has been struck off.

John Nicholls, 59, from Colchester, has been banned from working as a paramedic by the Health Professions Council.

Nicholls, who worked for the ambulance service in Essex for 39 years, met Bernadette Rhodes, 17, at the St John Ambulance in Greenstead Road, Colchester in October 2009.

The Health Professions Council’s conduct and competence committee said allegations that Nicholls had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with Miss Rhodes had been proved.

It found he had offered to act as her mentor, even though the ambulance trust had no such system in place, had taken her shopping and for driving lessons and visited her home for no professional reason.

He also allowed Miss Rhodes to join him on emergency ambulance calls without authorisation.

A report said: “The panel heard no evidence Mr Nicholls had demonstrated any significant insight into his shortcomings and nor had he taken any steps to address his misconduct.

“In his letter of April 1, he said he felt the ambulance service has done him a great injustice, and he had no respect for that organisation. It therefore follows the panel finds Mr Nicholls’ fitness to practise is impaired.

“This was very serious misconduct arising out of repeated behaviour that amounted to a wholesale breach of the trust placed in him by his employer.”

The panel found communications from Nicholls were inappropriate and sexually motivated. It noted evidence which suggested Miss Rhodes was a willing party and consented to all the events.

Earlier this week the hearing was told Nicholls, who left his wife and children to move in with the teenager, initially claimed he was nothing but a father figure.

He was sacked by the East of England Ambulance Service after a complaint last year.