Rapist jailed for care home attack

A 20-YEAR-OLD man was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment for brutally raping a disabled woman at an Essex care home.Raymond Hatter sat expressionless as a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court told him he had caused "unimaginable terror" during his savage attack on the woman and two female care workers at the home, in the Colchester area, in September last year.

A 20-YEAR-OLD man was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment for brutally raping a disabled woman at an Essex care home.

Raymond Hatter sat expressionless as a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court told him he had caused "unimaginable terror" during his savage attack on the woman and two female care workers at the home, in the Colchester area, in September last year.

Passing a life sentence, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth said that Hatter, who admitted rape, two charges of assault and other offences posed a "grave" risk to the public and had showed no remorse for his actions.

In a statement, the victim's parents said their daughter, who no longer lives at the home, had been left traumatised by the events of September 9 last year, but now hoped she could move on.


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The court heard how Hatter broke into the care home seven months after being asked to leave there following a stint as a volunteer on a post-prison rehabilitation scheme.

His express intention on September 9 had been to steal and rape, the court heard.

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Hatter, formerly of Clarendon Street, Bedford, had been cleared to work as a volunteer at the home last January after leaving a young offenders' institute following a string of thefts and burglaries at charity shops in the Milton Keynes area.

The court heard that he told probation officers he wanted to make a fresh start and was given a month's trial by the care home.

But Stephen Harvey, prosecuting, told the court that less than a month later he was asked to leave after one of the residents accused Hatter of conning him out of £40.

At that point further checks were made on Hatter's background revealing a history of being abused as a child and allegations that he himself had been involved in the abuse of other children.

Between February and September last year, Hatter lived in hostels and slept rough in the Bedfordshire area. But on September 9, he returned to Essex with one intention, the court heard.

He spent the evening drinking in Colchester High Street before taking a taxi to The Swan pub in Chappel.

Later that night, Hatter inadvertently activated a warning light as he clambered through a window in one the rooms at the care home.

After a few minutes delay, care workers Rebecca Self and Sandra Bell went to the victim's room, where they found Hatter with the woman, who although does not suffer from any mental disabilities, can communicate only properly with her parents.

During a terrifying struggle, the pair were beaten around their faces and bodies as they tried to force him from the woman's room.

He stole the keys to a car, but crashed it into a post. A massive police manhunt was launched after he fled on foot.

Police released his photograph and four days later, he surrendered to police in Milton Keynes, where his family lived.

Yesterday, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told him: "There is a profoundly disturbing thread of harming those who seek to help others. Perhaps this is out of envy and guilt over your own troubled childhood.

"You knew how helpless this woman was. You have totally devastated an already difficult life and perhaps her parents as well.

"You then brutally attacked two care workers. The persistence of the ferocity and rage in the attack could so easily have resulted in someone's death.

"The terror you caused everyone is difficult to imagine."

Andrew Jefferies, mitigating, said his client's last memory of the night was drinking in a pub in Colchester.

Hatter was sentenced to life with a recommendation that he serve at least seven years before being eligible for parole.

He was also sentenced to four years in a young offenders' institution for his other offences, which included two counts of actual bodily harm, one of burglary of car keys and one of aggravated vehicle taking, all on September 9. That sentence is to run concurrently.

After the sentencing, the victim's mother and father paid tribute to Essex Police.

They added: "Today's sentence will hopefully prevent other women and their families from going through the ordeal that we have. This man won't have the chance to harm another woman."

Det Supt Graeme Bull, senior investigating officer, said: "Raymond Hatter knew exactly what he was doing when he embarked on this disgusting crime and never showed any sign of remorse."

He added: "The display of dignity and courage by the ladies involved in this case kept my colleagues and me going - they were inspiration to us."

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