“You made up stories which got into heads and caused panic”

An Indian-origin doctor, who exploited women’s cancer fears to carry out invasive intimate examinations, has been given three life sentences.

New Delhi: An Indian-origin doctor, who exploited cancer fears to carry out invasive intimate examinations, has been given three life sentences for 90 sexual assaults on female patients in London on Friday. Manish Shah assaulted 23 women and a 15-year-old girl while working in London and was described by the sentencing judge as a “master of deception who abused his position of power”. “You made up stories which got into heads and caused panic,” said Judge Anne Molyneux at the Old Bailey court.

“Your behaviour was not only sexual but was driven by your desire to control and on occasions humiliate women,” she said. The 50-year-old doctor who claimed the assaults were “defensive medicine” was found guilty of 25 sexual offences against six victims at Mawney Medical Centre last autumn. At an earlier trial in 2018, he was convicted of offences relating to 18 other people, bringing the total number of offences to 90.

The general practitioner (GP) was found guilty following a trial in December last year, when the jury heard how he used a news story during consultation with one patient about Hollywood star Angelina Jolie having a preventative mastectomy, before asking if she would like him to examine her breasts. “He took advantage of his position to persuade women to have invasive vaginal examinations, breast examinations and rectal examinations when there was absolutely no medical need for them to be conducted,” prosecutor Kate Bex told the jury during the trial.

“Fear is an incredible motivator and few health concerns are scarier than cancer. Dr Shah exploited that and used it for his own personal gratification,” she said. Shah had denied any wrongdoing and his barrister, Zoe Johnson, told jurors he was a “cautious, insecure, perhaps at times incompetent GP”. But the prosecution’s case highlighted Shah’s generally “sexualised” behaviour and also his tendency to flout state-funded National Health Service (NHS) guidelines on examinations.

He would reportedly give patients hugs and kisses, singling some out as “special” and his “star”, saying he had a soft spot for them. Shah was suspended from the medical practice in 2013 when complaints came to light, resulting in a police investigation. In mitigation at the end of the case, his barrister Zoe Johnson said: “It goes without saying that all of these women feel grossly abused, humiliated, and that the trust that they placed in Manish Shah has been so dreadfully exploited. “He deeply regrets hurting them and cannot say sorry enough.”

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