A Sheffield man with a fake NHS badge gained the trust of vulnerable women accessing soup kitchens and homeless shelters, before luring them back to his home where he drugged and sexually assaulted them, a court heard.
Dean Chambers, aged 49, of Green Oak Road, Totley, is charged with eight sexual offences against four women said to have occurred between 2015/2016, including assault and sexual touching.
Chambers is also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and supplying a class C drug.
He is on trial at Sheffield Crown Court where he denies all the offences.
Mr Ian Goldsack, prosecuting, said the complainants were extremely vulnerable adults, ‘females who had all sorts of different difficulties or vulnerabilities’. A number of the women were accessing soup kitchens and the city's homeless services when they met Chambers.
He said: “They had problems with alcohol or mental health difficulties, came from abusive backgrounds – generally unstable lives.
“These vulnerabilities have led them to be a victim here, the prey of this defendant.”
He added: “Chambers was in the habit of frequenting areas where people with vulnerabilities these females had, could be found, for example soup kitchens or projects that help people with these sort of difficulties.
“He would present himself as a Good Samaritan; he would gain their trust at least in part through wearing an NHS badge and presenting himself as somebody who would help people with problems or vulnerabilities.”
The prosecutor said Chambers approached the complainants, who were in obvious need, and gained their trust, showed them compassion, concern and friendship.
But this was just a “cynical grooming exercise to exploit these female vulnerabilities”, added Mr Goldsack.
“He would invite them back to his home, once there they would be provided with the sort of things they thought they wanted – drugs, alcohol, tablets he seemed to have a ready stock of.”
Mr Goldsack said Chambers subjected the woman to unwanted sexual touching, comments and on some occasions raped her with body parts or objects, like a television remote control.
It is alleged Chambers would carry out the acts when the woman were awake or unconscious.
The court heard how on one occasion, Chambers invited one of his alleged victims and her boyfriend, neither of whom can be named for legal reasons, to his Totley home where he plied the pair with’ drink and tablets’.
Giving evidence today, the woman’s boyfriend said due to the combination of alcohol and drugs making him drowsy, he went upstairs to sleep and when he awoke a couple of hours later he discovered the living room door was locked.
He said: “I managed to get the door open. She was on the sofa asleep and he had his hand down her top. I asked him what he was doing and he said: ‘yeah I was playing about with her breasts’.
“We got into a bit of a scuffle.”
A female witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court she believed Chambers preyed on vulnerable women and lured them into friendships with him by giving them things they needed like alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
The same witness described staying at Chambers home, and after being given lots of cider and tablets waking up in his bed to find him lying next to her and stroking her back.
She said Chambers bedroom was filled with women’s clothes from ‘size zero to size 20’ and he told her that he had them to help women who might need new clothes.
The court heard how staff at the Victoria Court housing project, which helps Sheffield’s homeless, became concerned about Chambers who is believed to have met a number of his alleged victims through the initiative. Victoria Court project worker Claire Kirby told police in a statement read out in court she found Chambers’ behaviour strange.
She said: “He was helpful. He was nice, to the point of being sickly.”
Ms Kirby said that following a number of allegations made about Chambers, which included him sexually assaulting, drugging and being in possession of explicit pictures of women involved with the project, he was barred from the premises.
She said: “To me, his relationships were inappropriate and he was hanging around vulnerable women who turned to him for help with drink and drugs.”
In a statement read to the court from Lisa Liddle, Project Lead at 911, which provides 36 beds of supported accommodation across the city, Ms Liddle claimed that Chambers had rung the project claiming to be the NHS support worker of one of its users and asking for personal information about her.
Ms Liddle also said in her statement that users of the project had told her that Chambers would visit the Victoria Project with a small suitcase filled with women’s clothes that he would give to users.
Chambers denies all charges. The trial continues.