Woman over 80 suffered years of rape by carer

A MAN who repeatedly raped a disabled pensioner he befriended has been jailed for 16 years and banned from having any unsupervised contact with women over 60.

John Lewis took advantage of his elderly victim's increasing

immobility, staying at her home on many occasions and purporting to be helping her as a carer.

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The offences, which occurred when he would get into her bed with her, were carried out over a three-year period until she was admitted to hospital and told a relative what had been happening.

Lewis, 57, of Bedford Gardens, Tinshill, Leeds was found guilty by a jury earlier this month at Leeds Crown Court of three charges of raping the woman, now 87.

Jailing him yesterday Judge Sally Cahill QC said he knew the pensioner had serious medical complaints including problems with her heart and epilepsy and used a wheelchair.

"When you first befriended her you did so through a church, at that stage I accept your motives were benign. You had lived with your parents until the death of your mother. You had never had a sexual relationship in your life."

But she said Lewis's attitude to the woman changed. She had reported a few years ago that he had touched her indecently when helping her to the shower but later withdrew that complaint apparently because she

felt sorry for him.

The judge said in Lewis's eyes he took that as a green light for what then happened. In his naivety he believed he loved her but in reality he took no account of her feelings.

The woman, who was scared of his temper, found herself being

increasingly isolated with friends discouraged from visiting.

He knew she saw little of her family and Lewis ensured she became more and more dependent upon him since, when official carers were not present, she could do very little alone.

The judge said Lewis would transfer the woman from her wheelchair to bed and commit the offences. "What she wanted was for you to sleep at your own home and leave her alone."

Ordering Lewis to register indefinitely as a sex offender after his release, she barred him from having unsupervised contact with any female over 60 or vulnerable through physical difficulties.

She also barred him from participating in any church, voluntary group or resident's association activities which might involve such vulnerable persons unless the incumbent priest or vicar knows of his record.

David Gordon, prosecuting, told the jury at one stage Lewis was subject to a restraining order to stay away from the pensioner but had then befriended her once more and she felt powerless to prevent it when his cuddling turned to more serious sexual contact.

"We say he has an overbearing personality and took advantage of the complainant's frailty, vulnerability and social isolation for his own sexual gratification."

She gave evidence during the case via a video link using cameras specially installed in her home.

When arrested Lewis told police he had been having a full sexual relationship with the woman and maintained throughout that she

consented to what happened between them.

Neil Clark, representing him, told the court yesterday: "He knows he is facing a lengthy sentence, he is realistic but asks that you bear in mind not everything about their relationship was negative."