The 90-year-old woman who was allegedly raped at her Central Coast aged care home earlier this month has sadly died in hospital where she was being treated for injuries caused by the assault.
She had spent the last two weeks in hospital with injuries to her arms, legs and head, including severe skin tears, having been left “traumatised” by the attack.
Police were initially alerted to an alleged break-in at Uniting Nareen Gardens in Bateau Bay on November 15 at approximately 12.40am. Aged care workers had found the 90-year-old resident in her room with those injuries.
It’s believed the perpetrator, 34-year-old Brett Anthony Crawford, pinned her down and used bedding to keep her quiet while the alleged sexual assault occurred. Police say he also stole some of the woman’s property prior to jumping a fence and escaping on the night.
Two days later, police arrested Mr Crawford at a home in Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie. Mr Crawford was charged with several serious crimes including aggravated break and enter, inflicting actual bodily harm with intent to have sexual intercourse with the victim and aggravated sexual assault.
Speaking at a press conference shortly after the incident, Sex Crimes Squad commander Jayne Doherty labelled the attack as horrendous.
“That someone, any person in the safety of their home would be attacked like this, but to attack a very defenceless old lady is beyond belief,” she said.
Ongoing police investigations have not found any connection between the alleged perpetrator and the victim with police stating it was an opportunistic attack.
Although the woman has not yet been named, Uniting Nareen Gardens released a short statement penning their condolences to her family, friends and those who knew her.
“Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones and we have passed on condolences to them on behalf of all at our home at Bateau Bay and the whole of uniting,” they said.
Mr Crawford was refused bail after his arrest and he remains behind bars until his next scheduled court appearance in February 2024 at the Gosford Local Court. Police may upgrade his charges following a post-mortem exam by the coroner.
This follows another court case where a Melbourne man, Shane Huici, 25, pleaded guilty to the attempted rape of a 90-year-old woman at the Tannoch Brae Aged Care Centre in St Albans on August 15, 2021. Mr Huici will return to court in April 2024 for his plea hearing.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.