Inside Kendal Court: Woman’s suicide attempt after nine-day nightmare

Inside Kendal Court: Woman's suicide attempt after nine-day nightmare

A WOMAN tried to kill herself after a nine-day nightmare inside a troubled block of flats that acted as the “nail the coffin” for her mental health.

Crystal Stutter made a suicide attempt inside Kendal Court after being bitten by bed bugs and offered sex by a man in return for cash on her first night at the accommodation.

Ms Stutter was moved to the temporary accommodation in Newhaven after being locked in a shed and sexually assaulted while in supported housing in Brighton.

The 29-year-old described the notorious block of flats – where another resident’s body was found earlier this week – as “awful” and “uninhabitable”.

Pictures taken from inside show “poor conditions”, with Ms Stutter describing stained curtains and exposed wires in the bedroom.

She told The Argus she was bitten by bed bugs during her stay and was kicked out after she complained.

Ms Stutter said: “I was in such a bad place at that time and because of being put in Kendal Court, after everything I’d been through, I actually attempted suicide.

“Kendal Court was the final nail in the coffin for me.

“There were often men coming into the women’s building and the first night I stayed there, I had a man knock on my door.

“He asked me to have sex with him – and offered to pay me to have sex with him.

“There are rats as well. There is a big courtyard and where the bins are there are a lot of rats.

“I was only there for a week but when I moved in, the heater was sparking.

“It was freezing cold because I couldn’t use that. There were also bed bugs.”

The accommodation in Railway Road houses some of Brighton and Hove’s most vulnerable people, including victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

It comes after the body of a resident in Kendal Court was reportedly found on Friday, with the cause of death currently being investigated.

The accommodation, which is located next to a children’s playground, has also housed convicted paedophiles.

The Argus: Crystal Stutter says she was bitten by bed bugs Crystal Stutter says she was bitten by bed bugs

In April, the victim of a paedophile spoke of his anger after discovering his abuser had been sent to the block of flats.

Predator John Dowds was sentenced to three years in 2019 after threatening to cut off a little girl’s head so he could sexually abuse her.

He was found guilty of three counts of historic sexual abuse in Brighton involving a boy and a girl.

Following his release, Dowds was placed in the notorious temporary accommodation block earlier this year. 

Windows in the block overlook children’s play equipment – including swings – and the building is about 160 metres away from a nursery.

One of Dowds’ victims, who was only four years old when he was abused, has spoken of his shock and anger after discovering the predator was being housed in the court.

He agreed to waive his automatic right to anonymity. However, The Argus has decided to keep him anonymous.

He said: “The authorities don’t think he’s a danger to the public. The victims know him more. He is a complete danger and we need to strengthen policies.

“I’m calling for more stringent measures. People who live in this building should know who is going in and out of them.

“I have a real fear of bumping into him. I don’t live with shame anymore or anything like that.

“It’s not like I’m scared of him, I had to go to court and tell him what actually happened. That dealt with that.”

John Dowds is no longer living at Kendal Court.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has previously said it has “significant concerns” about the way Brighton and Hove City Council places homeless people in the county.

The clash between the two councils centred around the use of court where eight residents died between 2016 and 2018, as short term emergency accommodation.

ESCC said it was an inappropriate place for people with complex needs based on coroner’s verdicts and an independent report commissioned after the deaths of residents.

Earlier this week, Brighton and Hove Council described Kendall Court as being of “relatively good quality”.

“But the quality of accommodation is only one factor affecting residents’ wellbeing,” a spokesman said.

“We have a dedicated welfare officer team supporting all homeless households in our emergency and short term accommodation both within and outside of the city.

“We are also exploring a travel support scheme for residents out of city to connect with community and services.

“We are in regular contact with health colleagues in East Sussex County Council and voluntary and support agencies in the Newhaven area to ensure people placed in the area are supported, and to consider any arising issues.”

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