Health worker ‘preyed upon vulnerable people’, trial told

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A HEALTHCARE worker who ‘preyed upon vulnerable’ patients has gone on trial accused of sending one woman sexually explicit messages and carrying out sex acts with another.

Vincent Charles Roberts allegedly committed eight sexual offences while in a relationship of care, relating to prohibited acts with someone suffering from a mental disorder. He denies all the charges.

Advocate Simon Crowder, prosecuting, told the Royal Court that the 57-year-old kissed the first alleged victim and she slapped him in the face. Mr Roberts kissed and touched the other woman sexually, or encouraged her to touch him, on seven separate occasions, the advocate added.

Advocate Crowder said those seven acts had been consensual, but that this was irrelevant, as the charge related to a woman who had a mental-health problem at the time.

In a phone message to the second alleged victim, after the allegations came to light, Mr Roberts wrote: ‘If we both deny this we will be fine.’

The advocate said: ‘Mr Roberts would have been under no illusion that the acts were against the law. He preyed upon vulnerable people.’

Giving evidence by video link, the first woman told the court that Mr Roberts had sent her messages which at first seemed friendly, but had become sexually explicit over time.

Then, when he was with her, he would make remarks about her figure – which led her to wear clothing that concealed it – she told the court. She added: ‘I was a bit iffy about it. It was uncomfortable. I had to be really careful about what I wore.’

She said that when he kissed her she had immediately slapped him.

But during cross-examination, Advocate Ian Jones, defending, said: ‘That didn’t happen, did it?’

She replied: ‘It happened.’

He asked her: ‘Does your mind ever play tricks?’

She said: ‘Only when I’m really upset.’

And he asked: ‘Would you describe your memory as reliable?’

She said: ‘Usually, yes.’

The second woman also gave evidence via video link. She admitted that the sexual contact with Mr Roberts had been consensual, but added: ‘Looking back, what he did wasn’t OK. I feel very confused and a bit angry.’

The woman said she had been on medication at the time of the alleged incidents and would sometimes drink heavily, which affected her state of mind. Advocate Jones asked her: ‘Could you be mistaken about what Mr Roberts did?’

She said: ‘Absolutely not.’

He said: ‘The truth is you were never in a sexual relationship with Mr Roberts, were you?’

She said: ‘I was.’

The trial is being held before Jurats rather than a jury. Commissioner Sir John Saunders is sitting with Jurats Stephen Jones and Terry Ferbrache. The trial was expected to continue today.

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