A DUNFERMLINE care worker who repeatedly raped a profoundly disabled man at a residential home has been jailed for six years and four months.

Steven Watson, 64, of Skye Road, preyed on the wheelchair-bound victim, who requires 24 hour round the clock care, while employed as a relief support worker with a disability charity.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Beckett said it was a “dreadful crime” committed against a person he was paid to care for.

He told Watson it was a “gross breach of trust” of a man who was unable to consent and unable to physically resist.

The judge told the former foreign aid worker, who was previously employed overseas with charities such as Oxfam and Save the Children, that he would have jailed him for nine years but for his guilty plea.

Watson will be on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

He carried out sexual assaults on his 44-year-old victim on three occasions at the residential home in Fife.

Advocate Depute Jane Farquharson QC told the court: “He had been in this role as a support worker for 15 to 20 years.

“It is employment that saw the accused caring for some of the most vulnerable members of society many of whom, including the complainer, have limited communication and mobility skills.

“The role of a support worker is to attempt to make a service user’s life as normal as possible.”

The victim has a number of conditions, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, severe learning difficulties and is confined to a wheelchair.

Ms Farquharson added: “He cannot do anything for himself and requires assistance in all aspects of his daily living.

“He can express himself, using yes and no answers, head movements, and through the use of visual communication aids but only if asked a simple and closed question.”

On January 6, Watson took the man to a restaurant in Dunfermline during his shift before returning to the residential home.

When they returned the man indicated he wanted to go to bed. A woman support worker offered to help Watson with the task, which involved using an overhead hoist, but he declined.

He then wheeled the man into his bedroom and closed the door.

The woman later returned because she wanted to speak to Watson and knocked on the bedroom door and immediately walked in.

Watson had his back to the door and was standing facing the man’s bed. When he became aware that someone else was in the room, he rolled the man away from him. She heard Watson doing up his belt.

The woman suspected that Watson was not providing care to the resident but did not confront him at the time. She spoke to Watson about covering a shift for her but he did not turn around or make eye contact.

Ms Farquharson said: “She formed the impression he was flustered.”

She told another worker of her concerns and was advised to report to their supervisor.

The woman wanted to go and check on the resident’s welfare and tried to go to the room to speak to him alone but each time Watson would appear and she was unable to talk to him in private.

She later spoke to a team leader and raised concerns that she had “interrupted something”. The police were called.

Another worker later took the man out on a car trip to see relatives but noticed a change in his behaviour and asked if anything was wrong.

He asked if something had happened to him and received a positive indication and the man confirmed it was Watson who was responsible.

Watson was interviewed by police and admitted the incident on January 6 but initially claimed the victim was a willing participant.

Ms Farquharson added: “He later however agreed that the complainer did not have the capacity to consent to any sexual act.”

Watson also admitted to carrying out two further sex acts on the man before Christmas.

The first offender pleaded guilty to assaulting and raping the man who, because of a mental disorder, was incapable of giving consent on three occasions between December 1 last year and January 6 at a residential unit.

Defence solicitor advocate Gordon Martin said Watson regretted his actions but still cannot explain them.

He asked the judge to take account of Watson’s previous good character.

He said Watson still has a house in the Philippines where he had continued with voluntary work to improve the living standards of local people and help with building affordable housing.