GP, who sexually assaulted 24 patients, handed three life sentences

GP Manish Shah committed 90 assaults on patients he gave unnecessary examinations to and has been given three life sentences

This is an edited version of an article first published by The Guardian.

A GP who committed 90 sexual assaults on 24 female patients whom he persuaded to undergo unnecessary intimate examinations for his own gratification was labelled a ‘master of deception’ as he was handed three life sentences.

Manish Shah cited the high-profile health cases of celebrities Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to talk his victims, who were aged from 15 to 39, into agreeing to the medical checks.

The 50-year-old, who claimed he had been practising ‘defensive medicine’, flouted medical guidelines by giving healthy women under 25 smear tests and by making breast examinations on under-50s.

Shah, who will serve a minimum of 15 years behind bars, preyed on many of the women because of their ages or family history of cancer. He did not always wear gloves to carry out checks and in one case left a woman entirely naked on an examination table, the Old Bailey heard. Shah also breached guidelines on the use of chaperones during intimate examinations.

He was found guilty last autumn of 25 sexual offences against six victims at Mawney medical centre, in Romford, east London, between 2009 and 2013. He was convicted of offences relating to 18 other women at an earlier trial in 2018.

Fifteen of Shah’s victims were in court one at the Old Bailey on Friday as he was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years, plus further jail terms to run concurrently.

Sentencing, the judge Anne Molyneux QC said Shah had deployed a ‘mixture of flattery and fear’, as well as using the celebrity cases to carry out the assaults. The judge quoted one of his victims who said: ‘You made up stories which got into heads and caused panic.’

The judge added: “You were a master of deception and you abused your position of power. This was a horrible abuse of trust and caused incalculable harm. The details show a pattern of behaviour over five years. Your behaviour was not only sexual but was driven by your desire to control and on occasions humiliate women.”

Earlier in court, the youngest victim – who was just 15 at the time of the assault – described being left ‘anxious, fearful and shaking’ at the prospect of visiting the doctor after being abused by Shah. She explained how she felt different about men and worried about being seen as a ‘sex object’.

The prosecutor, Rosina Cottage QC, summarised other victim impact statements, telling the court that the ‘lack of trust’ created by Shah meant many of the women now refused to see male doctors. It had also affected their own relationships, Cottage added.

In mitigation, Zoe Johnson QC 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 [Shah] deeply regrets hurting them and cannot say sorry enough.”

The court heard how Shah exploited the vulnerability of his patients, because some had family histories of cancer, as well as using the celebrity cases to further his cause.

He cited news of actor Jolie having a preventive mastectomy as he asked a woman whether she would like him to examine her breasts. In another case, he mentioned Goody to a woman when explaining that an examination was in her best interests.

In an attempt to justify an examination in his notes, Shah suggested that it had been ‘requested’, the court heard.

Paul Goddard, of the Crown Prosecution Service, 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.”

Scotland Yard’s acting Det Supt Richard McDonagh added: “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.”

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A GP who committed 90 sexual assaults on 24 female patients whom he persuaded to undergo unnecessary intimate examinations for his own gratification was labelled a ‘master of deception’ as he was handed three life sentences.

Manish Shah cited the high-profile health cases of celebrities Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to talk his victims, who were aged from 15 to 39, into agreeing to the medical checks.

The 50-year-old, who claimed he had been practising ‘defensive medicine’, flouted medical guidelines by giving healthy women under 25 smear tests and by making breast examinations on under-50s.

Shah, who will serve a minimum of 15 years behind bars, preyed on many of the women because of their ages or family history of cancer. He did not always wear gloves to carry out checks and in one case left a woman entirely naked on an examination table, the Old Bailey heard. Shah also breached guidelines on the use of chaperones during intimate examinations.

He was found guilty last autumn of 25 sexual offences against six victims at Mawney medical centre, in Romford, east London, between 2009 and 2013. He was convicted of offences relating to 18 other women at an earlier trial in 2018.

Fifteen of Shah’s victims were in court one at the Old Bailey on Friday as he was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years, plus further jail terms to run concurrently.

Sentencing, the judge Anne Molyneux QC said Shah had deployed a ‘mixture of flattery and fear’, as well as using the celebrity cases to carry out the assaults. The judge quoted one of his victims who said: ‘You made up stories which got into heads and caused panic.’

The judge added: “You were a master of deception and you abused your position of power. This was a horrible abuse of trust and caused incalculable harm. The details show a pattern of behaviour over five years. Your behaviour was not only sexual but was driven by your desire to control and on occasions humiliate women.”

Earlier in court, the youngest victim – who was just 15 at the time of the assault – described being left ‘anxious, fearful and shaking’ at the prospect of visiting the doctor after being abused by Shah. She explained how she felt different about men and worried about being seen as a ‘sex object’.

The prosecutor, Rosina Cottage QC, summarised other victim impact statements, telling the court that the ‘lack of trust’ created by Shah meant many of the women now refused to see male doctors. It had also affected their own relationships, Cottage added.

In mitigation, Zoe Johnson QC 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 [Shah] deeply regrets hurting them and cannot say sorry enough.”

The court heard how Shah exploited the vulnerability of his patients, because some had family histories of cancer, as well as using the celebrity cases to further his cause.

He cited news of actor Jolie having a preventive mastectomy as he asked a woman whether she would like him to examine her breasts. In another case, he mentioned Goody to a woman when explaining that an examination was in her best interests.

In an attempt to justify an examination in his notes, Shah suggested that it had been ‘requested’, the court heard.

Paul Goddard, of the Crown Prosecution Service, 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.”

Scotland Yard’s acting Det Supt Richard McDonagh added: “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.”

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