A NURSE who dressed elderly patients in nappies overnight so she could sleep on duty has been struck off for the second time.

Sister Ann Marie Lee, 40, curled up in a comfortable armchair, popped her feet up and snuggled under a coat nearly every shift for more than 18 months.

She set her mobile phone alarm to wake her up just before the day workers arrived at the Windsor Lodge Nursing Home, in Harrogate.

The nurse was studying for a law degree four days a week and working at a wine bar and at a nightclub as a bouncer.

But her scam was exposed when the owners made a surprise raid at 3.30am on December 5, 2001, and found her fast asleep. Lee was found guilty of six charges of professional misconduct by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in central London.

It was revealed she was struck off in November 1991 following a conviction for two charges of common assault at Leeds Crown Court three years earlier.

She was then ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation and given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Lee also force-fed three patients and shouted and screamed at colleagues and residents of Edenfield Nursing Home between 1985 and 1986.

Committee chairman Eileen Walker said: "We consider your actions in sleeping for prolonged periods at night over a considerable period of your employment constitute a fundamental breach of patient care.

"We have decided to remove your name from the register with immediate effect."

Lee, from Harrogate, denied she had ever dozed off and told the Nursing and Midwifery Council in central London all four witnesses were lying.

She said: "I was not sleeping. My eyes were open."

The nurse also forged patient records in advance so she could sleep until 6am the next morning. Colleagues described how many of the residents were put in nappies or hooked up to catheters so they would not disturb Lee's rest.

Updated: 10:05 Saturday, June 14, 2003