72-year-old unfit to stand trial for sexual assault charges

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A JUDGE has demanded state care for a 72 year old Tetbury man wo has been found mentally unfit to stand trial on sexual assault charges.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC refused to accept that Keith Wild 'falls through the gaps' in mental health and social services care.

At a hearing at Gloucester crown court in July a jury found that Mr Wild did 'do the acts alleged' when he groped a young woman shop assistant in Tetbury.

But because Wild, of Romney Road, Tetbury, had been found unfit to stand trial the jury's ruling does not count as a criminal conviction.

On Tuesday, October 2,  Wild was due to be dealt with by Judge Tabor under the Mental Health Act but he was told that no proposals for his care have been put forward.

Terry Sprason of the 2gether mental health Trust told the court "It seems he falls through all the gaps in the services.

"He does not meet the criteria to be classed as having learning disabilities. He does not quite fit into the care system within the NHS. No-one takes responsibility for him."

But Judge Tabor retorted "Well someone is going to have to."

He said the health and social services officials who have been investigating Wild's case so far would have to go to a higher level 'to find someone who will take responsibility for this unfortunate man."

Mr Sprason said that the issue would have to be 'thrashed out' with doctors and specialists in the learning disabilities sector.

Said the judge "He is a man who plainly needs some form of supervision and care. There is no argument about that."

Mr Sprason assured the judge he would try to make progress in the next few weeks.

Judge Tabor said: "There must be a consultant to look after him. He is an old man. He has got real issues. I wouldn't dream of bringing him to court - it distresses him so much that he almost collapses."

Hassan Baig, defending, said Wild lives with his wife and their children have now left home., The sexual incidents in the shop occurred when his wife was away.

Judge Tabor adjourned until  November, 12,  for a full assessment of Wild to take place.

Wild did not attend Tuesday’s hearing.

At the end of the trial in July the judge told the jury: "The law says he cannot be punished but the court can place a guardianship order on him . The county council would supervise that a keep a close eye on him.

"His wife has managed to keep him on the straight and narrow and manage his life until now but she is getting very frail.

"Another course the court could take is a supervision order which would be administered by the probation service, social services and the health authority.

"I could pass a hospital order but that is not relevant in this case because he has not got any illness.

"I could also absolutely discharge him but I am not going to do that either because he has frightened a little girl some years ago.

"Plainly young ladies such as this need protecting - they are entitled to go about their lives without being pestered in the way she was."

Wild had not attended the trial on two charges - that on Aug 16 and 17 last year he sexually assaulted the 21 year old woman by intentionally touching her.

Kirsty Real, prosecuting, said Mr Wild regularly went to the shop where the young woman worked.

On  August, 16, she was at work when he allegedly grabbed her hand and placed it on his crotch, over his trousers, said Ms Real.

"He then put his hand on her breast.

"She says that the next day there was a similar assault on her. She made a complaint to her manager on Aug 17 and the manager then challenged the defendant.

"When she threatened him with the police he started to cry and said he would not do it any more.

"When the police arrested him he denied the allegations although he did admit putting his hand on her shoulder."

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