Former GP ‘manipulated younger patients to have intimate examinations’, court hears

A former GP accused of a spate of sexual assaults manipulated and groomed younger patients to persuade them to have vaginal and breast examinations, a court has heard.

Manish Shah, 53, denies 41 sexual offences against eight victims over a five-year period between 2009 and July 2013.

On Wednesday, the Old Bailey heard that he “manipulated and abused” the women, three of whom were teenagers, to have “unnecessary” intimate examinations for his “sexual gratification”.

He did this by wrongly telling them of a medical need or family history of cancer, the court was told.

Jurors heard that Shah (pictured) had been a GP partner at Mawney Road medical practice in Romford, east London, from 2004 and was “well regarded” and “often booked out”.

Concluding the opening of the trial, prosecutor Riel Karmy-Jones KC said: “It is submitted that his sexualised behaviour, the way he behaved towards the young women, illustrates that sexual gratification was his ultimate motivation – it certainly was not the health of the patients, when any competent GP would have realised that his examinations were not appropriate or justified.

“A family doctor is a position where trust is essential – a patient must place sufficient trust in the doctor to permit intimate examinations, so as to safeguard her health.

“The prosecution alleges that the defendant presented as a caring, considerate and solicitous doctor, prepared to go above and beyond for his patients, prepared to try and give the impression he was the only doctor prepared to carry out extra examinations, but that the evidence as a whole exposes that this was no more than a facade, and that he manipulated and abused the trust placed in him for his own sexual satisfaction.

“The prosecution submits that there is a clear inference – a common sense conclusion that the evidence as a whole drives you to – that the defendant, in conducting medically unnecessary vaginal, breast and rectal examinations on these eight patients – three teenagers and five women – that he committed offences of sexual assault and assault by penetration.”

The court was told some of the victims found Shah “friendly and helpful” and that he would call them names such as “star”, “special girl” and his “favourite”.

Ms Karmy-Jones told the court that one of the victims, who was aged between 15 and 16 when she visited the practice between August 2010 and February 2012, said Shah told her she was a beautiful girl and should be a model.

Shah carried out a pelvic ultrasound scan, full bimanual vaginal examination, bimanual and speculum examination, STI screen, breast check and another breast examination, the court heard.

Ms Karmy-Jones said there was no “medical need” for them and they should not have been conducted.

Shah was also accused of “taking advantage” of one ”clearly anxious” young woman from the age of 17, the prosecutor said.

Another victim, who could have been as young as 15, was told by Shah to have a vaginal examination after being told about the risks of cervical cancer, and that it was important to start examining early, the court was told.

Ms Karmy-Jones said it was “an obvious example of Mr Shah’s ability to manipulate and groom his younger patients”.

One woman was told by Shah that he was “going out on a limb” for her, the court heard.

The prosecutor told jurors: “After one examination she felt really uncomfortable.

“She was still naked from the waist down with her legs apart on the bed. Mr Shah leaned his elbow on her knee and then laid his head on his hand.

“He had a conversation with her for about a minute while she lay there still exposed.

“She felt it was sleazy and strange and disliked the way that he always seemed to be asking her to be examined.”

Prosecutors allege the defendant did not give his patients “sufficient balanced information” about the examinations he wished to conduct, and should have explained there was not a “clear medical justification” for them.

Ms Karmy-Jones said: “He took advantage of his position to persuade women to have invasive vaginal examinations, breast examinations, intimate examinations, when there was no medical need for them to be conducted.

“Outwardly giving the appearance of conducting apparently medically compliant examinations, he was, in fact, conducting many of the examinations he performed for his own sexual gratification.”

The trial continues.

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