Care homes fear serial killer

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A suspected serial killer who claims that he is on a religious mission to send disabled people to a "better place" is thought to have been posing as a care assistant and working in several residential homes around the country. The National Register for Carers, a private organisation which vets care workers, yesterday warned care homes to be on the alert for the man after it identified a pattern of unexpected deaths where the man - a white Englishman in his early thirties - had worked.

The organisation believes the man is linked to at least three suspicious deaths in homes across England over the past six years - and there could be as many as seven. They include a woman who died of a fractured skull in Merseyside and a patient who died after falling out of a window at a home in the north of England. Susan Brooks, a registrar with the Liverpool- based NRC, said that the man had contacted them several years ago asking for training and to be registered as a carer. He had relevant experience but the organisation turned him down after investigating his background. "He was always caring for people with learning difficulties. He preferred to work on night duty, alone with these people," she said.

The organisation says that it contacted Merseyside Police, who interviewed the man. But a spokeswoman for the force said that they had no record of an interview taking place.