'My nan should be safe in care home - but a man broke in and tried to rape her'

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Jake Astley broke into a care home and attempted to rape a vulnerable elderly woman (Image: Greater Manchester Police)
Jake Astley broke into a care home and attempted to rape a vulnerable elderly woman (Image: Greater Manchester Police)

The devastated granddaughter of a vulnerable pensioner who was attacked in her bedroom at a care home has spoken of the grief it has caused her family.

The elderly victim, who has dementia, has been "destroyed" by Jake Astley's vile attempt to rape her in the residential facility in Oldham, Greater Manchester. A court heard Astley, 22, broke into the nursing home, chased terrified staff with a butter knife and then went into the victim's bedroom.

The defendant, branded "dangerous in court, has now been locked up for 10 years six months after pleading guilty to the charge of attempted rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Police officers who responded to the incident found Astley half-naked in the victim's room and said she was also partially unclothed with her underwear around her ankles. The victim, who is partially paralysed and unable to communicate verbally, has now lost "a significant amount of weight" and has been "destroyed" by the ordeal, her granddaughter said in a powerful victim impact statement.

Read at Minshull Street Crown Court, the statement said: "She used to laugh and smile and was happy and sociable. It's heartbreaking to see who she is now.

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"He's not just destroyed her last few years but also her family’s and all the happy memories they should be making. She is withdrawn and anxious. I can’t begin to imagine the pain she experiences from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to sleep.

"When a man walks into her room who she doesn't know you can see the fear in her eyes. He has destroyed my grandma. A defenceless and vulnerable old lady should have felt safe in her own home."

One police officer said the job at the care home, which cannot be named in order to protect the victim's identity, was "one of the worst incidents" they had attended in their 18-year career, reports Manchester Evening News.

Astley had broken into the building in the early hours of January 1, 2023, when the victim, and other residents, were asleep. CCTV footage played to the court showed the yob repeatedly kicking down the door. His attack left the victim so badly injured she spent three weeks in hospital and her family feared for her life.

"We all thought she had given up and now we live with the fear she may not survive. She is trying to overcome trauma like that - vulnerable, non-verbal and unable to defend herself," the impact statement added.

"I still have night terrors about all of this. I can't talk to anyone about the sadness and anger I am feeling because I am trying to hold it together for my family.

"I have so many unanswered questions. I really want to meet with my grandma's attacker in the hope I can look him directly in the eye and ask him why.

"Every time I think of my grandma I find it hard to remember the happy times in our lives. Someone as evil as him should never be able to walk the streets again. My family has to deal with the consequence of his violent actions forever."

Rachel Faux, prosecuting, read a number of other impact statements from the police officer and a care worker at the home at Astley's sentencing, on July 31. One of the carers, who had been chased by Astley as he wielded a butter knife around felt "really overwhelmed" at the time of the incident and was "frightened for her life".

"She felt distraught and unsettled by the events and how frightened she was. She describes how the incident will scar her for life and she no longer feels safe, even behind a locked door," she said.

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Following the chase, carers rang police, who found Astley in the victim's room, with his lower clothing around his ankles. Meanwhile, the victim was in bed with a face injury that was bleeding and was also naked from the waist down, with her underwear around her ankles, the court heard.

In an interview, he claimed he did not remember the incident, and told officers he had been drinking since 5am the day before, and had drunk two litres of rum, bottles of lager, two drinks of vodka and Pepsi and had also taken cocaine.

The victim was taken to hospital with bruising and swelling to her eyes and face. She also had a laceration to her nose and bite marks on her bicep and abdomen which the court heard was 'consistent with physical assault by biting'.

Ms Faux also told the court that the day before the attack, a search for "step mum son porn" had been carried out on Astley's phone on more than one occasion.

Stuart Neale said Astley, who is from Oldham, had one previous conviction and had suffered "appalling teenage years" which included taking drugs and being homeless. He said he felt "deep and genuine remorse" and that he had been "off his head" and in a "psychotic episode" when the attack took place.

However the court was told that a psychological report ruled out that Astley had been suffering a psychotic episode. Before trial, Astley pleaded guilty to the charge of attempted rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Astley will remain on the sex offenders register for life.

James Holt

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