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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
Hospital bars foetus photos man
Edward Atkinson
Edward Atkinson, from Norfolk, was jailed for 28 days
A 75-year-old man has been denied hip treatment after health officials warned him about sending hospital staff pictures of aborted foetuses.

Anti-abortion supporter Edward Atkinson has been jailed for 28 days for sending offensive photos to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, Norfolk.

The hospital said Atkinson had been banned from treatment for anything other than life-threatening conditions.

An anti-abortion group backing Atkinson said the decision was "outrageous".

James Dowson, national co-ordinator of the UK Life League, said: "It is ridiculous. I think it is completely unfair. They are refusing to treat him. Would they refuse a murderer or a paedophile?"

'Zero Tolerance' policy

Atkinson, of Ely Road, Hilgay, Norfolk, had been on a waiting list for an assessment for a hip operation when he started sending in pictures of aborted foetuses.

The NHS Trust wrote to him asking him not to send such material to the hospital as it was distressing staff.

When he continued, the trust said he had broken its "zero tolerance" policy with regards to staff.

On Monday, Ruth May, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said in a statement: "The trust's view is that we have a duty of care to our staff.

UK Life League protest
The UK Life League campaigns against abortion

"Our legal advisers were consulted and their opinion was that this man's actions contravened the NHS Zero Tolerance policy in cases of abuse or unacceptable behaviour towards our staff.

"We take such matters extremely seriously and because he continued to send extremely graphic material to us we exercised our right to decline treatment to him for anything other than life-threatening conditions."

On Thursday at Swaffham Magistrates Court, Atkinson was convicted of three counts of sending offensive literature or material to staff at the hospital between January and April this year.

The literature, sent via the post, contained colour images of a dead foetus and the video, hand delivered, was of an abortion.

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