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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Nurse describes hospital rapist
CCTV camera
Hospital security across the UK is in question again
Detectives have issued a description of a man who raped a 60-year-old woman at a west London hospital.

On Wednesday they also revealed the rapist was seen talking to a male patient in the communal area of the same mental health ward, 45 minutes before the attack.

A nurse has told detectives how she interrupted the attack on the victim, who was lying in bed on the Brent ward of the John Connolly unit, Ealing, last Friday.

It is the second rape in a London hospital to have been reported in a month.


This was a sickening attack on an extremely vulnerable member of our community

DCI David Poole
It is thought the attacker could have been visiting a friend on the ward or was chatting to another patient to try to remain unnoticed until he got a chance to strike.

Detectives are still investigating whether he was known to the patient he spoke to.

The attacker was spotted during a routine check on the victim, who was being monitored every 15 minutes because of her mental health condition.

The nurse who made the check at 1645 BST said she saw a man on top of the patient with his trousers down. The man then fled.

Victim 'distressed'

The nurse described the rapist as black, 6ft tall, slim and aged 40 to 45 with short grey hair and a round, clean-shaven face.

He was wearing blue jeans and white trainers and is thought to have spoken with a Trinidadian accent.

Police are examining CCTV and forensic evidence and interviewing other patients.

Detective Chief Inspector David Poole, who is leading the investigation, said: "This was a sickening attack on an extremely vulnerable member of our community.

"The rape has left the victim very distressed, so much so that she is still not in a fit state to be interviewed."

Cancer patient

Health secretary Alan Milburn on Tuesday described the attack as "absolutely appalling" but warned hospitals could not be turned into prisons to protect patients.

Detectives are also investigating the rape of a 71-year-old woman being treated for cancer at King's College Hospital on 1 May.

She was pushed to the floor by a white man in his 50s in a toilet in a mixed sex ward.

Police believe the rapist could be a fellow patient or a hospital worker - but have not ruled out the possibility that someone from outside evaded hospital security.


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See also:

25 Jun 02 | England
14 Jun 02 | Health
14 Jun 02 | England
05 Mar 02 | England
23 Apr 02 | Health
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