Judge orders care watchdog to investigate after Wirral woman's 'nightmare' sex attack

Craig Cantwell has been jailed for seven years for inflicting grievous bodily harm, committing that offence with intent to commit a sexual offence and affray.

Craig Cantwell has been jailed for seven years for inflicting grievous bodily harm, committing that offence with intent to commit a sexual offence and affray.

First published in News
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FOLLOWING a young care worker's "nightmare" sex attack which led to her jumping from a first-floor window breaking her back, a judge ordered the Care Quality Commission should investigate the incident.

The victim had plunged 20-feet to the ground from a Wirral residential home to escape a schizophrenic, who had been drinking, after he had lured her to a room and in a "Freddy Krueger" voice aggressively demanded sex and threatened to kill her.

The woman had been working a night shift - alone - with six residents, who have mental illnesses and learning difficulties including her attacker Craig Cantwell - despite him having a string of convictions for violent attacks on care workers and police.

"That fact must have been known to the owners of the home, since one of the defendant's previous convictions related to an assault on another staff member there when the defendant was in drink," said Judge Alan Conrad, QC.

"Notwithstanding that, this young woman, pursuing the career she wanted and loved, and doing her very best, was left on her own to cope - with residents who were allowed, notwithstanding their difficulties, to drink alcohol.

"It defies belief as far as I am concerned that they can have thought that they were doing the right thing by this young member of staff.

"The papers in this case should be referred to the Care Quality Commission and to the Health and Safety Executive".

Liverpool Crown Court heard that after locking herself in a bathroom for safety the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, watched in horror as Cantwell kicked a hole in the plasterboard wall and he tried to smash his way in with a chair.

And her terrifying ordeal did not end with her the desperate jump from the window because as she lay on the ground with her back fractured in two places and a broken bone in her left heel she could hear him running down the stairs.

"I had to crawl and drag myself into the street and when I saw two milkmen I called out "help, rape" and stumbled towards them," she said.

The milkmen were commended for their public spirited courage by Judge Conrad for keeping Cantwell at bay and protecting her.

But he went on to criticise the 999 call handler, who took her frantic emergency call from the milk float.

"She was dealt with in what seemed to be an unsympathetic manner by the call handler, who was threatening to terminate the call.

“I would express the hope that advice is given to reduce the possibility of this happening again."

30-year-old Cantwell, formerly of Stockport, had been convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Jailing him for seven years, with two years extended licence, the judge told Cantwell: “You are a very dangerous young man." He ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

The victim told the court of the devastating effects the incident has had on her life, including post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, depression and a suicide attempt.

During his four-day trial, a jury heard the attack happened in the early hours of July 8 this year when the women was on duty at the home.

Andrew McInnes, defending, said Cantwell is having real difficulties in dealing with the conviction and remains in denial.

He said the home had a duty of care to both the victim and Cantwell, and "that had lapsed completely. It appeared to be an accident almost waiting to happen."

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