Rape victim to sue care home charity

A SEVERELY disabled woman who was brutally raped at a care home by a worker is suing a national charity for £300,000 damages, it has emerged.The woman has lodged a High Court writ against one of Britain's most high profile charities claiming its "negligence" led to her rape at a care home near Colchester in September 2003.

A SEVERELY disabled woman who was brutally raped at a care home by a worker is suing a national charity for £300,000 damages, it has emerged.

The woman has lodged a High Court writ against one of Britain's most high profile charities claiming its "negligence" led to her rape at a care home near Colchester in September 2003.

Neither the woman nor the charity nor the exact location of the care home can be named for legal reasons.

The woman was being cared for at the home when she was savagely attacked by now 21-year-old Raymond Hatter on September 9, 2003.


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Hatter, currently serving a life sentence for the crime, was said by a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court to have caused "unimaginable terror" to his victim.

A lengthy inquiry into how the convicted serial thief had been allowed to work at the home is due to publish its findings later this year.

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But in a writ lodged on February 17, Thomas Osborne, of Osborne, Morris and Morgan - the rape victim's lawyers - said: "The claim is for negligence arising out of care received at…the home, for which the defendant (the charity) was responsible.

"The defendant failed to exercise the proper level of care in ensuring that only persons fit to work at the home were employed by the defendant, ensuring the welfare, safety and health of the home's residents and ensuring that there were adequate security measures in place at the home.

"As a result of those failures, the claimant has suffered personal injuries, loss and damage following an incident on September 9, 2003."

Chelmsford Crown Court heard in February 2004 that Hatter, formerly of Milton Keynes, had been taken on as a volunteer by the charity following his release on probation at the end 2002 from Reading Prison, where he had been serving a sentence in the youth offenders' wing for burglary.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth was told a three-page profile of Hatter was sent to the care home manager by Community Service Volunteers, an organisation that helps find work for offenders and ex-offenders.

However, it was felt that because Hatter's previous convictions were property-related, the risk was acceptable, the judge heard.

But less than a month into his placement, accusations of theft were made by one of the residents and he was also overheard abusing the woman who was later to become his victim.

At that point, further investigations into Hatter's background revealed he had been embroiled in child abuse allegations and he was told to leave.

Seven months later, in September 2003, he returned to the home and brutally raped his helpless victim.

Two of his former colleagues tried bravely to fight him off, but his escape sparked a massive police manhunt in the Colchester area before he eventually turned himself in.

A spokeswoman for the national charity named in the writ said yesterday: "Full and proper internal and external investigations relating to events at the home have taken place.

"We have co-operated at every stage. We have also implemented the recommendations of our internal investigation.

"The writ against us is a matter of public record and the pending legal case constrains us from commenting on the detail."

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