April 2022

Dad walks in on pervert care worker exposing himself to vulnerable daughter

The dad of a vulnerable young woman with Down’s Syndrome and the mental age of a six-year-old walked in on a perverted care worker exposing himself to her on a video call.

Wavertree man Peter Edge, 62, was the then director of a company offering respite care to adults with disabilities – giving parents and carers a much-needed break. The family of *Jane (not her real name), said they had total trust in him.

Today, Preston Crown Court heard Edge, of Goswell Street, betrayed them in the most devastating way imaginable, raping and sexually assaulting her at the West Lancashire respite centre at a time when he knew it was empty.

The abuse only came to light when her dad, to his horror, saw Edge had exposed his penis over the webcam while Jane was in the family home.

An investigation was launched and Lancashire Police discovered that Edge had sexually abused Jane on the very first day she was allowed out from her home after shielding from coronavirus as a vulnerable person.

The pervert was supposed to be taking her to a park to maintain social distancing boundaries, but knew the fact other staff and service users at the respite centre were there meant it would be empty.

Her parents said Jane had to point out what happened to her to specially trained officers, a process which caused her stress and embarrassment.

Judge Heather Lloyd, passing sentence today, described Edge as a remorseless and manipulative offender who posed a significant danger to the public.

She said: “It is a blessing that [Jane’s dad] saw what you were doing. Had he not, who knows how long you would have gotten away with this criminal behaviour towards his daughter.

“She may have enjoyed the attention you were showing her… but she did not understand the gravity of what you had done to her.”

During the hearing, Jane’s mum bravely began to read a victim personal statement about the impact of Edge’s crimes on the family – but became so emotional she asked prosecutor Richard Haworth to finish reading it out.

She said: “[Her dad] was absolutely devastated when he saw Edge expose his genitals to Jane and in that moment everything changed for Jane and us.

She could no longer go to [the respite centre] for overnight stays or meet with her friends, she lost her entire care network and social life, and this was totally devastating and hard for us to explain to her.”

The court heard initially the parents had no idea of the full extent of Edge’s offending against their “beautiful and amazing” daughter until a detective came round to explain Jane had reported being sexually assaulted. Her mum said: “I felt physically sick.

[Her dad] cried and that really upset me because as he never cries, he very rarely shows his emotions. I found it hard to process what Jane had been through and didn’t know how to deal with it.”

The family have since struggled to find new respite care for Jane, and lost her grandad before he could see justice.

Her mum told the court: “I find it hard to digest that the person I trusted with Jane violated her in the sickest way.

It’s hard to believe anyone could take advantage of Jane, let alone when the perpetrator is someone I’d also thought of as a friend, someone I allowed into my home and more importantly into Jane’s life to care for her and protect her whilst she wasn’t with me.”

Edge accepted two lesser charges, but denied raping Jane and her family were forced to endure a trial – a process which Jane’s mum described as a “horrendous ordeal”.

Edge claimed he felt “disgusted” with himself after acting inappropriately with her, but denied he had raped her. A jury saw through his lies and convicted him of rape, sexual assault and other offences.

Jane’s mum told the court: “On the day Edge gave evidence [Jane’s dad] couldn’t even be in court as he was too angry and upset and he couldn’t listen to what that man had to say. I did sit through his evidence. There are no words to explain how it made me feel.

“I was in complete disbelief and disgusted to hear that he had sexual urges towards my beautiful daughter. It was utterly disgusting to sit a few feet away from him and having to listen.

It didn’t feel like it was my Jane that was being talked about. I felt like I was watching someone else’s trial except, every time Jane’s name was mentioned, it hit me hard it was my daughter who was being talked about and it made it real again.”

Judge Lloyd handed down an extended sentence of 15 years in prison, with an additional two years on licence.

The sentence means instead of being automatically released on licence at the half-way stage, Edge must serve a minimum of two thirds – 10 years – behind bars before a Parole Board can consider him for early release.