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Probe set up into care of teenager who raped girl in Rainford
A LONDON council is to commission an independent review into their handling of a young man who raped a 15-year-old girl after being placed in St Helens.
Carl Wheal was living 220 miles from home when he committed his horrific crime in Rainford.
Bexley Council social services, which had responsibility for Wheal, had placed him in the North West with Transitional Plus Care, an organisation delivering “supported living” and “offending behaviour programmes”.
That agreement had seen the teenager living in a house, managed by the care organisation, on Windermere Drive, Rainford and training at a private facility, nearby.
Now the Star can reveal a series of questions surround the handling of Wheal and the regulation of the organisations that were looking after him.
It was reported last month how Wheal was handed an indeterminate jail sentence after pleading guilty to raping a girl in Linear Park, Rainford in March this year.
He had offered to walk her home from a party before committing the vile attack.
Star readers who became aware of Wheal’s background after the crime have questioned why Bexley Council were allowed to place him so far away from his home address.
They are also angry at loopholes that allowed the care company to set up at the house, 13 Windermere Drive, without residents being informed or planning permission having to be granted.
Neighbours were also alarmed to learn that Wheal was allowed to continue living at the Rainford address despite being on bail for a false imprisonment charge, which related to alleged violent offences in Liverpool during 2011.
That case subsequently collapsed in Liverpool Crown Court earlier this year, by which time Wheal had already been charged with rape.
The exact nature of the supervision of Wheal by the independent care organisation is also coming under scrutiny after a series of allegations were made by neighbours about anti-social behaviour linked to the property at the time he lived there.
The company moved out of the property shortly after Wheal’s attack in Rainford came to light.
Bexley Council, who placed Wheal with the company, has vowed to examine its handling of the case with an independent review.
They refused to “provide specific information” about Wheal or his case because of “confidentiality” reasons.
However, in a statement the council did say: “This was a dreadful experience for the young woman concerned and our thoughts are with her and her family.
“Carl Wheal moved to the independent agency Transitional Care Plus (TCP) in April 2011. We' re taking this matter very seriously and will be reviewing this case.”
A Transitional Plus Care spokesman said Wheal, who had joined them as a 17-year-old care leaver, was no longer under their supervision at the time of the attack because he had turned 18.
He had been allowed to continue living at the Rainford address in the short term, while awaiting a move back to London.
The care organisation says it provides 24 hour supervision for care leavers.