A DURSLEY care worker jailed today for raping vulnerable residents at a Gloucestershire care home had been arrested for sexual offences six years earlier - but allowed to return to work.

Colin Stokes, of St George’s Road, was jailed for 14 years at Gloucester Crown Court for raping three women between January 2012 and April 2013.

The 48-year-old was sentenced to 20 years; a 14-year jail term with a further six on licence.

Mr Stokes was arrested last April after a whistleblower from the Gloucestershire care home, who cannot be named for legal reasons, reported concerns to police.

He was charged and remanded in custody in August.

It has since emerged Mr Stokes was arrested and bailed in April 2007 for inciting sexual activity with a mentally-ill woman in a care home.

Following an investigation, his bail was cancelled and no further action was taken and he continued to work at the home.

Detective chief superintendent Bernie Kinsella said a full and thorough investigation had taken place in 2007 but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) deemed the evidence not strong enough to justify proceedings.

“There were no obligations upon the police to report incidents like that to social services at the time,” he said.

“Now things are very different in that we have a very close working relationship with Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults.

“Because we exchange information on a really frequent, almost daily, basis, there’s much more likelihood of abuse coming to our attention now.

“We have a specialist team of officers investigating abuse of vulnerable adults.”

Mr Stokes had worked at the care home for 10 years, in the sector for 20 and was CRB checked.

Stokes’ victims, aged 32, 50 and 52, are vulnerable women with severe physical and mental disabilities.

They were interviewed by an intermediary, who used pictures and symbols to help communicate.

The abuse of one of the women, who could not be interviewed due to the severity of her disabilities, including autism, epilepsy and blindness, was uncovered by detailed forensic investigations of her bedroom.

Detective sergeant and interviewing officer Mike Rich, of Cheltenham criminal investigation department, said Mr Stokes had shown no remorse.

“He was clearly a sexual predator,” he said.

“It’s been a very difficult investigation for everyone involved.

“This whole enquiry has been about giving the victims a voice. These victims already face some pretty difficult challenges in their life and then they find themselves being abused in this callous and cruel way by a man vested with looking after them.

“It’s really important that when confronted with a set of circumstances like this we do everything we can to achieve justice.”

During the 2013 Operation Innisbrook Gloucestershire Police took 28 non-police statements, and four video interviews.

Nine warrants were executed at one address and 76 exhibits were seized.