A mental health carer has been jailed for having sexual relations with three vulnerable teenage girls at a private psychiatric hospital.
Marcus Daniell, 46, of Torquay Road, Shaldon, Devon, groomed the girls with presents and sweets, Exeter Crown Court heard.
The sexual abuse started at the Devon home with cuddles and progressed to more serious acts.
He admitted 21 offences and was jailed for 11 years.
The court heard one of the victims, who has since died of natural causes, made a complaint about Daniell’s touching but he denied it and it was not acted on.
Her mother said in a statement to the court “no words” could describe “how devastating this is on top of having lost our daughter”.
She said: “She felt trapped in the unit with a person in authority preying on her”.
‘Risk to lives’
The court heard other carers at the home, which has since closed, had also raised concerns, one telling Daniell that he was acting like a “predator”.
He had been suspended at least once before police became involved.
All the abused girls had histories of mental illness, self harm and attempted suicides.
Daniell admitted 21 counts of sexual activity with a person with a mental disability by a care worker.
Judge Timothy Rose told him he had a “professional obligation to the patients” but his actions “posed a distinct risk to their lives”.
“You were well over twice their age and old enough to be their father,” he said.
“You disregarded the physical and psychological harm you were causing solely to pursue your personal sexual gratification.”