I watched blubbing rapist cry in court but his tears were only for himself

Sidharth Nair
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)


Sidharth Nair appeared on a video screen in courtroom 46 apparently on the verge of tears and with his hands held together, as if in prayer.

His voice cracked with emotion as he begged: "I didn't do it. I plead not guilty."

Within the space of three months, he had drastically changed his tune. It was on February 29 this year that Nair had pleaded not guilty to rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault via video link to HMP Altcourse.

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The 29-year-old found himself remanded into custody after being charged with a truly appalling crime. He had been employed as a healthcare assistant at Whiston Hospital for only around two weeks when he was accused of raping a patient in her own bed.

Nair's denials meant that the case was listed for a section 28 hearing, in which the evidence of a complainant or witness is pre-recorded in advance of a scheduled trial without a jury being present, at Liverpool Crown Court on May 9. It was only due to a national technical difficulty in making such a recording that the hearing was ultimately unable to take that place, and the victim was not forced to relive her ordeal in public.

But only days later, on May 17, Nair changed his plea to guilty. Appearing before the court remotely again on Wednesday this week for his sentencing hearing, he exhibited the exact same body language as he had back in the late winter when he had falsely maintained his innocence.

Perhaps this time his hands were joined together in a plea for mercy from the judge, but his tears were only for himself and his plight. None were shed for the woman whose life he had ruined.

Whiston Hospital
Whiston Hospital -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Paul Becker, prosecuting, told the court this week that Nair had been responsible for providing care for her after she had been admitted to the hospital as an inpatient. However, she began to have concerns over his behaviour when he bizarrely "started to sniff her underwear" while he was searching for a fresh pair for her to change into.

Later, when brushing her hair, he told her: "Look how pretty your face is. You've got beautiful eyes. I wish you had a pen and paper so I could draw your eyes."

Nair, of Jason Street in Everton, then returned to her bedside around an hour later and began massaging her feet after telling her that they appeared swollen. He thereafter claimed that he "needed to do a body map" before groping her breasts.

When she subsequently requested assistance to be taken to the toilet, the staff member reappeared and removed her underwear, began "messing with a wet wipe" and sexually assaulted her. At this, she told him: "Get off and leave me alone."

But, the same evening, Nair returned once more after the victim's family had visited and took her to a toilet. There, he attempted to "clean" her and told her that he needed to examine her breasts once more.

When he tried to kiss her neck, she told him: "What are you doing? I'm not well. Just leave me be."

She then returned to her bed but was followed by Nair, who unzipped his trousers and took hold of her hand before forcing her to touch him as she pleaded: "Get off me. I don't want this, get off me."

He however replied: "It's ok. After this, you won't see me again. It doesn't matter."

Nair then raped her in her hospital bed. Afterwards, he visited the bathroom and left after telling her: "I won't see you again."

He was said to have "timed his offending as he knew nobody would be around" due to the ward being in the midst of a changeover in staff at the beginning and end of their shifts, while the victim had been given pain medication which had left her "drowsy". In a statement which was read out to the court on her behalf, she said: "There are nights when I cry myself to sleep.

"I'm struggling to comprehend how I can live with what has happened to me. I don't think I can live a normal life.

"I find myself playing back the incident in my mind, and it's making me physically sick. I no longer feel able to do normal things that we did as a family."

Nair, who was known as "Charlie" by his colleagues, had no previous criminal convictions. His counsel Nicola Daley said in mitigation: "He is 29 years of age, never having been in trouble before.

"He is someone the court can impose a determinate sentence of imprisonment upon, knowing that he will spend a long time in prison and have time to work with the authorities. That is something he says he wants to do to prevent it from happening again.

"He has said in his letter to the court, I want to get help. I want to understand why I did what I did. I don't want to be that person.

"He is unable to explain why he did what he did. He has pleaded guilty, which is somewhat unusual in many cases of this nature.

"He has never committed any other offences or shown on any other day any similar behaviour. He came to this country to work and support his family in India and set up with his wife.

"He is now in this country alone. He only has himself to blame for that.

"His actions on that day have meant that he is now in custody within this country and his friends and family are not here. He is very isolated and he is struggling to cope emotionally."

Nair continued continued to weep as he was sentenced to 13 years in prison by Judge Katherine Pierpoint. He was also told to sign the sex offenders' register indefinitely and handed a restraining order, while he will be liable for automatic deportation.

The judge said in her sentencing remarks: "That day, your behaviour at first was odd and peculiar. It was not only odd and peculiar, it was inappropriate behaviour for somebody working at that hospital in a role as her carer.

"However, things then took a much more sinister turn. In my judgement, you were testing the waters to see how far you could go without her saying anything.

"You took the opportunity that existed with the changeover in staff, knowing that you were highly unlikely to be disturbed. She told you no, she told you to stop and to leave her alone.

"You took no notice of that, more interested in your own sexual gratification than her needs. You raped her in that bed.

"She was left devastated, confused and upset. One can only begin to imagine the distress she was in.

"She is a brave woman who stood up to you by reporting matters, but your attack on her has had serious consequences. She is left suffering from anxiety and depression, and your offending has impacted on her work and family life.

"It has had a devastating effect on her emotional wellbeing and quality of her life. There are nights where she cries herself to sleep.

"It is clear that those who know and care about you are extremely shocked at the behaviour you involved yourself in. Despite your guilty pleas it is clear that you do minimise some of your offending behaviour and fail to fully recognise the impact of your actions on your victim, being more focussed on concerns for yourself and your family.

"These offences were pre-planned, predatory and clearly for your own sexual gratification. The complainant was in a place where she should have felt safe and cared for.

"Offending of this type impacts on the whole community. It damages the reputation of the National Health Service and makes, particularly women, patients worry over male caregivers.

"This was a clear breach of trust. She was a patient, and you were working as a healthcare associate.

"You had a significant level of responsibility for her, on which she was entitled to rely. You specifically targeted a vulnerable person."

Nair will be required to serve two thirds of his prison term behind bars before becoming eligible for release. Merseyside Police's Detective Inspector Yoseph Al-Ramadhan said following his sentencing: "This was a shocking incident which has had a devastating impact on Nair’s victim and her family.

"She has clearly been through an extremely traumatic time, and we hope that today's sentence brings her some sense of justice as she continues to recover. Thankfully we were able to detain and arrest Nair very quickly and ensure he will now spend a considerable period of time behind bars, and I hope that knowing this will finally allow his victim to start to move on with her life.

"I would like to thank Whiston Hospital for their support throughout this investigation. I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence or is concerned for the safety of someone they know to come forward and speak to us.

"Please be assured that we have a team of dedicated staff who will expertly and compassionately deal with your reports and we will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice. We take all such reports extremely seriously and work with partner organisations such as Victim Care support service and Rape and Sexual Abuse Support, who are there to support victims every step of the way."

A spokesman for Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals told the ECHO: "Our thoughts are with the victim, whose trust was betrayed in our hospital. We have been shocked and horrified by the behaviour of the individual.

"Prior to his employment all checks were completed in line with national NHS employment check standards with enhanced DBS and the required police checks also completed. There were no concerns raised about previous conduct.

"The trust has worked closely with Merseyside Police through the entire process to ensure the matter could be fully and properly investigated. As soon as we were made aware of the charges he was immediately dismissed."

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