A CONVICTED paedophile branded a “devious sexual predator” is suing a private mental hospital amid claims he was beaten unconscious by another patient while sectioned there.
John Oliver, 73, from Southend, has issued a writ against Clare House, in Pound Lane, Bowers Gifford, claiming they were negligent in his care.
In a claim issued to Southend County Court, Oliver says he was punched so hard at Clare House he fell to the ground unconscious, required six stitches, and has suffered pain and loss of vision ever since.
Oliver claims staff were negligent by failing to see or break up the fight while it was starting to occur, and that it was negligent as it was responsible at the time for the actions of his attacker.
His claim, which asks foramaximum of £15,000 damages from the hospital, said: “On or about September 11, 2010, one Robert Sweet, a patient at the hospital, assaulted the claimant by punching him in the right eye and with such a force the claimant was knocked to the ground unconscious.
The defendant (Clare House) was negligent for permitting the assault to occur.
“In particular that the claimant (Oliver) was negligently placed in HockneyWard, failure to keep the claimant and Mr Sweet apart on the ward in question and failure to appreciate the risks to the claimant by reason of his past convictions for sexual offences.”
Oliver, formerly from Ipswich Road, Colchester, was given a twoyear probation order for indecently assaulting a 12-year-old girl in 1998 and subsequently put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years before spending several years in various mental health institutions.
In September 2009 Oliver, who had a history of absconding from mental health units, escaped from carers while on a supervised trip to Basildon town centre.
He was found eight days later in a Colchester hotel room.
He also absconded while a patient at a hospital in East London, in 2008.
In a letter, leaked to the Echo at the time of the 2009 escape, from Essex Police’s Det Chief Insp Darrin Thomkins to the North Essex Mental Health Partnership, the officer branded Oliver an “intelligent, devious, uncontrollable, sexual predator” who “regularly preyed on vulnerable individuals”.
A St Andrews spokeswoman said: “We have challenged the claim, but while the matter is ongoing we are not in a position to comment further.”
Oliver was yesterday not at home and unavailable to comment.