Child rapist worked at town's hospitals

A CONVICTED child rapist spent nearly five years working as an occupational therapist in Colchester hospitals, it has emerged.

James Hore

A CONVICTED child rapist spent nearly five years working as an occupational therapist in Colchester hospitals, it emerged last night.

Samuel Odinga pleaded guilty to raping a girl under the age of 14 when he was living in Missouri in the United States of America.

In 2002 Odinga was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to first degree statutory rape but the sentence was suspended for five years.

However when he was deported from the United States the following year, the Kenyan occupational therapist came to the UK where he successfully applied for a job at Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, which ran Colchester General and Essex County hospitals.

Odinga, now aged 45, worked closely with patients at the hospitals between March 2004 to December 2008 before the horrific crime was discovered.

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The East Anglian Daily Times understands that his conviction only came to light by chance when one of Odinga's colleagues did an internet search on his name.

Last night the trust, now called Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said it had followed all correct protocols and procedures when employing Odinga and stressed there had been no reports of wrongdoing from patients.

Odinga also failed to inform the Health Professions Council (HPC) of his convictions when he applied for a registration in 2004 and now faces a fitness to practice hearing in London this month.

Speaking yesterday, Steve Moyer, who worked alongside Odinga in America, said the arrest came as a surprise to those who knew him.

Now working as a journalist for the Nevada Daily Mail, he said: “Before becoming a reporter I actually worked with Odinga at Skills Unlimited, a company that provides training for developmentally disabled individuals here in southwest Missouri.

“He was a pleasant enough person and did not exhibit any unusual characteristics that would make anyone suspect him of any wrongdoing.

“I never noticed anything untoward about him and no-one I spoke to after his arrest said they had either.”

Occupational therapists work closely with patients of all ages to help them overcome the effects of disability caused by physical or psychological illness, ageing or accident.

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: “The trust suspended Samuel Odinga on 20 October 2008 after learning of his conviction in the United States.

“We dismissed him on 17 December 2008.

“He failed to declare this conviction when applying for a job here as an occupational therapist in November 2003, which he took up on 8 March 2004.

“Mr Odinga had also failed to declare his conviction when applying for registration at the Health Professions Council on 11 February 2004 which is why the HPC on October 30, 2008 made an interim suspension order for 18 months (the equivalent of a doctor being struck off the register and therefore being unable to practise).

“This Trust followed all of the correct protocols and procedures when employing Mr Odinga.

“However, as a result of what the HPC hearing is told later this month we will look to see if there are any additional steps that could have been taken.

“We did not receive a single allegation of improper conduct involving Mr Odinga while he was employed here.”

The trust's head of occupational therapy is due to be a witness at the hearing in London this month.

Odinga was not available for comment yesterday.

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