A caregiver who sexually violated a profoundly disabled woman in his charge, resulting in her becoming pregnant, has been handed a prison sentence extended to 15 years. The victim of Edson Munyikwa, the carer, had to undergo a surgical abortion upon discovering her missed menstrual period.

According to a judge at Leeds Crown Court, this case represents “perhaps the most severe of its kind” he has encountered throughout his career.

Munyikwa, aged 55, was responsible for providing respite care to the woman, who had significant disabilities, including an inability to communicate verbally and a mental age comparable to that of a toddler. It was during this care period that he committed the sexual assault.

The court was informed that the woman had various serious conditions, including brain damage, epilepsy, and autism. Prosecutor Deborah Smithies emphasized that the victim lacked the capacity to provide consent for sexual activity.

The offense came to light when the victim missed her period and her epileptic seizures increased in frequency. Subsequent blood tests revealed that she was three months pregnant. As a result, she underwent a procedure to terminate the pregnancy. Deborah Smithies stated that a police investigation was launched to identify all men who had interacted with her.

Even the victim’s father fell under suspicion during this investigation. He willingly provided a DNA sample to be excluded as a potential suspect. Munyikwa also submitted a DNA sample after being identified as someone who had been in contact with the victim. Munyikwa’s colleagues were also considered suspects.

Munyikwa was arrested at his residence after being identified as the biological father. During his interview, he denied engaging in sexual activity with the woman. He stated, “I don’t know,” when asked about his connection to the conception.

In a statement, the victim’s family expressed their dismay:

‘’Her susceptibility and inability to communicate made her a target. We struggle to come to terms with the fact that yet another professional has caused immeasurable distress to a vulnerable young woman.”

Munyikwa had no prior convictions in the UK. In a report by a probation officer who interviewed him, it was noted that he lacked genuine remorse for his actions.

During mitigation, Marcus Waite conveyed Munyikwa’s apology not only to the victim but also to her family. The defense attorney conveyed, “Today, he exhibited regret and sadness, addressing not only the victim but also her family, having listened to their comprehensive statements detailing the impact on them.”

Munyikwa was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by an additional three years on license. In delivering the sentence, Judge Mushtaq Khokhar remarked:

“This is not an ordinary case. This is probably the most severe case of its kind I have encountered. It’s hard to comprehend why someone in your position would suddenly commit such an offense – there’s no explanation beyond what you told the probation officer. This aspect hasn’t been extensively explored to uncover the underlying motives.”

The judge noted that Munyikwa had eroded the public’s trust in his profession and cast suspicion on others. He further explained, “At the time, she couldn’t have comprehended what was happening, and you were well aware of her inability to communicate this to anyone else. Accusing a father of such an act is a profound torment. He had to stay away from her until he was cleared. Similarly, your colleagues were subjected to suspicion, leading to their suspension until the investigation concluded. Others were aware of the reasons behind this suspicion, causing them considerable embarrassment and anguish in front of their families and friends.”

Source: HealthTimes


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