Cumbria

Carlisle residents call for closure of Denton Holme homeless hostel

Residents in Carlisle have called for the closure of a hostel that housed a man later convicted of rape.

Mark Jackson, 50, raped a girl of 16 in October while living at the hostel for homeless men in Denton Holme.

The St James Road hostel was closed after the attack, and now owners Impact Housing plan to reopen it to accommodate homeless women.

The company believes after changes to procedures, it is the best use for the building.

'Known risk'

Jackson admitted rape and was jailed for 12 years in December, at Carlisle Crown Court.

A local resident who did not give his name said: "These premises are a known risk. They talk about improving the systems of control to mitigate the risk... but why not eliminate the risk and sell the property back?"

Another said she did not let her grandchildren near the building. She feared that having homeless women there would make the area less safe.

Mike Muir, chief executive of Impact Housing, said the hostel made a mistake in housing Jackson, and that changes had been made to how it worked, to ensure correct checks on future residents.

He said: "We've carried out a review, and this is the best use for the property. We're confident that it will be a success."

Katharine Sacks-Jones, of homelessness charity Crisis, said: "It's important to remember that homeless women are some of the most vulnerable people in society.

"They've been failed by society, and we all have a responsibility to make sure these women now get the help they need to get their lives back on track and move on."

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