Cumbria

Carlisle hostel shuts over rapist resident Mark Jackson

A hostel for homeless men has been shut temporarily after a resident admitted raping a 16-year-old girl in Carlisle.

Charity Impact Housing, which runs the centre in St James Road, said it was closing out of respect for the victim's family and "public hostility".

Mark Jackson, 50, was living at the hostel when he carried out the attack in Denton Holme on 15 October.

The charity said it did not believe it could have prevented the attack, but was shutting for the family's sake.

The hostel, which opened four years ago, has eight self-contained flats for men who have "fallen on hard times".

It currently has three residents and they have been found alternative accommodation until after Christmas.

The charity's chief executive, Mike Muir, said he was disgusted by the attack, but that all residents were vetted and Jackson did not have previous convictions for sexual offences.

'Dust settle'

He said: "We have closed temporarily after discussions with the family of the victim, out of respect for them, and to let the dust settle.

"Also, the residents felt stressed and that they were being stared at, and that it would be better to close temporarily because of public hostility.

"We bar anyone with convictions for sexual offences because of the risk to the community and our reputation.

"We don't think there is anything we could have done to prevent the attack, but will be holding more discussions with the victim's family."

He said the centre was for men with "low support needs", such as those going through a divorce or losing their job.

He added: "We take them for a year and try to build their social skills and help them find a job."

Jackson will be sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on 2 December.

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