Care worker assaulted by deported paedophile not given penny of £24k compensation
PUBLISHED: 05:30 12 February 2020
A convicted paedophile, who was banned from the UK, managed to sneak back into the country and work with vulnerable children where he then sexually assaulted a colleague.
Becky Watson, 29, suffered months of sexual harassment by Juan Guera Landazuri while working for Lincolns Care Ltd, supporting young people with learning disabilities in Ipswich,
But despite winning an employment tribunal in August 2018 against Lincolns Care Ltd, the company has not paid her a penny of the £24,000 she was awarded.
She said the harassment, which included Landazuri touching her inappropriately and trying to force his tongue into her mouth, left her feeling ashamed and terrified about going to work.
"It changed me as a person," she said. "It put my whole life on hold and it's left me with emotional wounds that won't heal."
Mrs Watson, who lives in Ipswich, has spent almost five years seeking justice for the abuse she suffered in 2015 - but now fears it has all been for nothing.
The company, which did not attend the tribunal, also refused to pay the compensation to bailiffs who were instructed to get the money from them.
It filed for voluntary insolvency in February 2019. The company's director and owner, Asaf Hussain, then set up a company called Lincoln Cares Limited, followed by Lincolns Supported Living Limited from the same address.
Mrs Watson said: "It's like the company's just laughing at me and there's nothing we can do.
"Even when there's a judgment in black and white, it's not worth the paper it's written on.
"Where's the law that backs me up? Where's the law that keeps me safe?"
Mrs Watson, who is married with two young daughters, first complained to management about Landazuri's behaviour soon after they started working together in February 2015.
She said the company's response was to "brush it under the carpet" - and warn her against further complaints.
The tribunal heard the company first tried to explain Ladanzuri's attempts to kiss her as a "cultural matter" before later suggesting Mrs Watson "be more forceful with him, for example by kicking him between the legs".
Mrs Watson told the tribunal she suffered further harassment including Landazuri touching her breasts and asking "intrusive questions" about her sex life.
According to Judge George Foxwell, this has a "profound effect" on Mrs Watson.
Disappointed by the company's response, she reported Landazuri to Suffolk Constabulary for sexual assault.
During the investigation, it emerged Landazuri was a convicted paedophile who had entered the UK illegally.
Landazuri had been jailed by Kingston Crown Court for four years in 2002 after indecently assaulting a girl aged under 14. He was later deported to Ecuador and ordered never to return to the UK.
Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said at the time he was "horrified" that Landazuri had been able to gain entry - and demanded reforms to border control.
Mrs Watson has also questioned how Landazuri was able to evade authorities and find work with vulnerable young people.
"For years, I've tried to wrap my head around this," she said, "But I just can't fathom it. Why didn't anyone do anything to stop him?"
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Police charged Landazuri in connection with three alleged sexual assaults and a common assault in July 2015. However, the case was discontinued at crown court due to insufficient evidence.
Landazuri, who was 44 at the time, was also charged with failing to comply with requirements under the Sex Offenders' Act between January 2005 and July 2015, and fraud by lying about his previous convictions between November 2013 and July 2015.
He admitted both offences when he appeared before Ipswich Crown Court and was jailed for 26 months. He was deported again in 2016.
Meanwhile, Mrs Watson was signed off work sick by her GP. She said she became anxious whenever she saw a similar car to Landazuri's, fearing he had returned to the country.
Her husband, Luke, said his wife had suffered hugely over the past five years. "I've seen her go from being an incredibly bubbly person to someone that seems trapped in a dark hole," he said.
"The worst thing is that the company hasn't even bothered to apologise."
Suffolk County Council said it stopped commissioning services from the company in 2016.
The company did not respond to a request for comment.
How did company manage to avoid paying compensation?
Lawyers working for Becky Watson said it was "disgraceful" that a company could avoid paying compensation by going into liquidation.
Audrey Ludwig, director of legal services at Suffolk Law Centre, which Mrs Watson praised for its support, said: "The government hasn't put in place remedies to prevent people doing this - but we've not given up on Mrs Watson's case."
Ms Ludwig said Mrs Watson would have been able to seek some money from government if the case had been about unfair dismissal.
However, as the case focused on discrimination and was an injury to feelings award, this had not been possible. She said Suffolk Law Centre had informed organisations including the Care Quality Commission and commissioning bodies about the company.
We will deport foreign nationals who commit crimes
Border chiefs said the safety of the British public is "our number one priority".
A Hone Office spokesman added: "Border Force carries out checks on 100% of passengers arriving on scheduled services and this includes checking against international databases of criminality.
"We continue to lead on global efforts to improve information sharing between countries to identify and apprehend wanted criminals."
The Home Office said foreign nationals who commit crimes "should be on no doubt of our determination to deport them".
It is believed Landazuri, who has dual Spanish and Ecuadorian citizenship, used his Spanish passport to return to the UK in 2013 as part of a work exchange programme. During Landazuri's crown court sentencing, the prosecution said he had applied for work - but left a section asking about previous convictions on an application form blank.