A doctor who abused his position of trust and persuaded women to undertake unnecessary intimate medical examinations has been sentenced for sexually assaulting 24 of his female patients.
Manish Shah, 50, from Romford was found guilty of a total of 65 offences of sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by touching in relation to 18 patients at a trial which concluded in December 2018.
In a second trial, which concluded in December 2019, he was also found guilty of nine counts of sexual assault and 16 counts of sexual assault by penetration in relation to a further six patients.
The offences took place between 2009 and 2013 while Shah was a GP at the Medway Medical Centre in Romford, east London.
Jurors heard that Shah recommended and suggested that the patients have regular breast and vaginal examinations when there was no clinical need.
On some occasions, Shah highlighted the urgency of check-ups for cervical cancer, breast cancer and other serious illnesses by talking about celebrities who had suffered from similar conditions.
The court also heard that Shah was “overfamiliar” with some of his female patients, and made inappropriate comments as well as making physical contact and hugging and kissing them.
Shah’s offending first came to light in July 2013, when four women made separate allegations to the medical practice that Dr Shah had sexually assaulted them; these were passed to police.
Officers led a thorough and lengthy investigation from Central Specialist Crime.
NHS England carried out a scoping exercise of all Dr Shah’s female patients.
His medical notes were reviewed, and these gave rise to concerns about the medical justification of the examinations he had conducted.
As a result of the scoping exercise, 139 women were spoken to by police, and a number of these supported the prosecution.
Shah was first arrested in September 2013 concerning the initial four allegations, and further allegations were subsequently investigated.
Detective Superintendent Tara McGovern from Central Specialist Crime said:
“Shah was a long-serving doctor who was well-known in the community and trusted and liked by his patients, many who had him as their GP for many years. The judge rightly described him as a “master of deception”.
“They were unaware that Shah was carrying out unnecessary, invasive examinations on female patients for his own sexual gratification, after giving his victims misleading clinical advice.
“These offences are particularly grave due to Shah’s abuse of his position, and of the trust placed in him as a family doctor.
“His conviction is the culmination of a huge amount of work on what was a complex, sensitive investigation which was supported by NHS England.
“I would like to acknowledge the women who were victims of Shah, and who supported the prosecution and gave evidence at Shah’s trials.
“Without their evidence, Shah may not have been brought to justice, but the weight of evidence against him at both trials was overwhelming.”
Today (7th February 2020) Shah was sentenced at the Old Bailey to life imprisonment. He will serve a minimum of 15 years before he can be considered for release.
Paul Goddard, a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the London CPS Complex Casework Unit, said:
“Manish Shah was a trusted family doctor, but he took advantage of that trust to abuse his female patients and then falsified their medical notes to try to justify intimate medical examinations that should not have taken place.
“The Crown Prosecution Service wishes to commend those women, who by bravely giving evidence convinced the jury of Dr Shah’s guilt.”
The NHS has a dedicated number for any individuals who may have concerns or questions. They can be contacted on 0800 011 4253.
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