Guilty: Disgraced Romford GP faces jail for sexual assaults on 23 girls and women
PUBLISHED: 15:50 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:56 11 December 2019
A Romford GP who cited the cases of Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to instil fear in his patients is facing jail for molesting 23 female patients.
Dr Manish Shah of Brunel Close preyed on cancer concerns to persuade patients as young as 17 to undergo unnecessary intimate examinations for his own sexual gratification, the Old Bailey heard.
Over five years, between May 2009 and June 2013, he assaulted six patients of the Mawney Medical Centre in St Edwards Way, the court was told.
Shah, 50, denied wrongdoing, claiming he had been practising "defensive medicine".
But following an Old Bailey trial, he was found guilty today (Tuesday, December 10) of nine counts of sexual assault and 16 counts of sexual assault by penetration relating to eight women.
The jury was told Shah has already been convicted of similar allegations relating to 17 other women at an earlier trial which concluded in December 2018.
Shah was seen looking down at his lap in the dock as the jury delivered majority verdicts after 26 hours.
Prosecutor Kate Bex QC told jurors that Shah played on the women's fear of cancer to consent to examinations, but without being properly informed.
Some of the victims were particularly vulnerable because of their young age or because of their family history of the disease.
Ms Bex said: "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."
Shah brought up the news story about Hollywood star Jolie having a preventative mastectomy as he asked a woman if she would like him to examine her breasts.
He also mentioned Goody to another woman, saying an examination was in her best interests, it was claimed.
Ms Bex told jurors that one theme of the case was the defendant's "sexualised" behaviour.
He would give patients hugs and kisses, singling some out as "special" and his "star", saying he had a soft spot for them.
He would not always wear gloves and left one patient entirely naked on an examination table, jurors heard.
Shah attempted to justify an examination in medical notes by suggesting it was "requested", the court heard.
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He flouted NHS guidelines on giving healthy women under 25 smear tests and routine breast examinations on women under 50, which were said to cause more harm than good, Ms Bex told jurors.
He also breached guidelines on the use of chaperones during intimate examinations.
Shah denied wrongdoing and his barrister Zoe Johnson QC told jurors he was a "cautious, insecure, perhaps at times incompetent GP".
The fact of Shah's previous conviction did not necessarily make for a case of "once a sex offender always a sex offender", Ms Johnson argued.
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 allegations were then passed on to the police who began a lengthy investigation led by officers from Central Specialist Crime.
NHS England carried out a scoping exercise and 139 women were spoken to by police.
Shah was first arrested in September 2013 in relation to the initial four allegations and further allegations were subsequently investigated.
The 50-year-old was found not guilty of one count of sexual assault and three counts of assault by penetration.
The jury could not reach a decision on a further sexual assault charge.
Acting Det Supt Richard McDonagh, 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.
"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.
"Today's 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."
The NHS has a dedicated number for any individuals who may have concerns or questions. They can be contacted on 0800 011 4253.
Judge Anne Molyneux adjourned sentencing for all the offences until February 7.