A former Blackpool mental health nurse has been jailed for 17 years over a string of horrific sexual attacks on two young boys.
To many, Andrew Wright, 55, was a churchgoing pillar of the community who had worked as a nurse for nearly 30 years.
He abused people’s trust - he betrayed people
But today his true nature was exposed as he admitted carrying out a string of rapes and assaults on two youngsters in the Fylde, Preston Crown Court was told.
One of the boys, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was aged just five when some of the offences happened.
Wright, of Mowbreck Court, Wesham, worked for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, first at Devonshire Road Hospital in Blackpool and then at Lytham Hospital when the site closed.
He had also volunteered at a toddler group in a village near Preston, where friends say he attended a local church.
Unmarried Wright, believed to have fathered six children with different partners, admitted 10 counts of raping a boy, one of gross indecency with a boy, and nine counts of indecent assault.
Other similar counts, some involving a third child, were ordered to lie on file by Judge Stuart Baker.
The sentence comes two years since the first victim came forward to report him in February 2014.
A relative of one of the boys today said: “He abused people’s trust - he betrayed people. It has affected him very badly. He deprived them of their innocence and childhood by abusing them at such an early age. He had to have counselling and therapy. He carried it alone for all those years. Words can’t describe how we feel.”
The woman added she was concerned that Wright, a trained psychiatric nurse, had spent nearly three decades working with vulnerable people, adding: “His whole career has been with vulnerable people. It’s a worry in the light of what has happened.”
He retired around six years ago. Damian Gallagher, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Andrew Wright has not been employed by the Trust since July 2009 which is some time before the allegations were made against him and subsequently investigated by the police.
“The Trust takes the conduct of staff very seriously both inside and outside of work and would undertake a thorough investigation in instances where this is not found to be the case in addition to helping the police with any enquiries.
“It would not be appropriate for us to comment any further on this case.”
Det Con Mike Ellis, of Blackpool’s public protection unit, said: “It has been a long and complicated investigation. I think this is a good sentence reflecting the gravity, and number, of offences.
“His crimes have been absolutely devastating, and so far ranging for his victims.
“This case shows people who do come forward to report these kind of offences are listened to and I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of abuse, no matter how long ago, to come forward in confidence”.