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Carer raped disabled woman after previously ‘attempting to have sex with a patient’

Michael Forson

A carer who raped a disabled woman had already been sacked from the NHS for allegedly trying to have sex with a patient. Michael Forson failed to disclose the misconduct allegation to Magic Life UK when they employed him in November 2021, just three months after he was ditched by another NHS Trust, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard on Friday, February 16.

The 61-year-old, of Chingford Road, Waltham Forest, went on to work at another supported living home, for adults with autism and learning disabilities, where he forced himself on a 21-year-old woman with complex needs, including autism, ADHD, global development delay, chromosome deletion, and learning difficulties, brought on by her premature birth.

Forson, who normally cared for men, was on night shift when he snuck into the victim’s room at around 10pm on March 4, 2023. Within a 16-minute window, he raped the victim, then told her to keep it a secret. Jurors were shown CCTV footage of Forson’s shadow entering and leaving the room, and concluded, with corroborating evidence, it could only have been him.

After the attack, the victim remained silent, but eventually told another carer at the housing. However, the carer failed to report it until March 9, six days after the victim was raped, prosecutor Marion Smullen said. This drew ire from the victim’s sister, who, in response, said: “The betrayal of security and trust we had in Magic Life was disgusting.”

Once informed, Magic Life immediately reported the allegation to police and Forson was arrested. He denied the attack and continued to deny it throughout his trial. The jury convicted him for a single count of rape in September last year.

During the trial, a bad character application was made to divulge details of Forson’s previous convictions for dishonesty in 1998 and 2008, including a deportation entry offence. It also emerged Forson had been employed as a carer for another NHS trust from February 2021, but was sacked in August 2021 over a safeguarding incident, Ms Smullen said.

Asked to clarify the incident, Detective Constable Weatherley said: “At his previous employment there was an allegation by a patient that Mr Forson had tried to engage in sexual activity with her. This was not raised to the criminal aspect, this was a safeguarding issue.”

Judge Georgina Sharkey took the view the allegation did not affect his previous good character, in relation to sexual offences, but further proved his dishonesty.

‘Depraved old man’

The sex attack was the victim’s first sexual experience and left her distrusting of men, and unable to communicate with male friends. “The memory comes back to haunt me,” she said. “I feel like he has taken a lot of my power and I want to get my power back.”

The victim’s family said the ‘depraved old man’ had betrayed their trust after agonising for years over whether to send their daughter to supported living. “Words cannot get anywhere close to expressing what this man’s selfish and evil actions have done to us,” said the victim’s mother.

Forson, a married dad, showed no remorse to probation officers, and defence counsel Emma Heath said she was not prepared to say he was sorry. Instead, she said he now accepted the verdict of the jury, and argued a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO), preventing him from working in care again, would limit his danger to members of the public.

Judge Sharkey concluded Forson had targeted the victim ‘specifically’ because she was ‘particularly vulnerable’ due to her myriad complex health needs. She also pointed out if he had ‘not been dishonest’ and disclosed the safeguarding allegation, he would never have been given the opportunity to work at the care home and carry out the attack.

Giving a sentence of 11 years and six months, of which he must serve two-thirds inside prison, Judge Sharkey added: “I hope you will reflect on what you have heard. Certainly, you will have the time to do so.”

-Callum Cuddeford

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