LONDON: A GP was branded a “master of deception” as he was handed three life sentences after being convicted of 90 sex offences against 24 former female patients. Manish Shah, who will serve at least 15 years behind bars, cited the cases of Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to persuade patients aged between 15 and 39 to undergo unnecessary intimate examinations for his own sexual gratification, the Old Bailey heard.
Shah, 50, of Romford, east London, who claimed he had been practising “defensive medicine”, was found guilty of 25 sexual offences against six victims at Mawney Medical Centre between 2009 and 2013 last autumn.
At an earlier trial in 2018, he was convicted of offences relating to 18 other women, taking the total number of offences to 90 relating to 24 women.
Fifteen of the victims sat in a packed Court One of the Old Bailey on Friday as Shah was sentenced by Judge Anne Molyneux QC to three life sentences with a minimum term of 15 years plus further jail terms to run concurrently.
The judge said Shah had deployed a “mixture of flattery and fear” and used celebrity cases to carry out the sex assaults. Quoting one of his victims, the judge said: “You made up stories which got into heads and caused panic.”
According to Met report, he was found guilty of nine counts of sexual assault and 16 counts of sexual assault by penetration relating to six women, after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey which concluded on 10 December 2019.
Shah was also found guilty of 65 offences of sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by touching in relation to 18 other women at a separate trial which concluded on 21 December 2018. Shah committed the offences between 2009 and 2013 while he was a GP at the Mawney Medical Centre in Romford, east London.
The charges across the two trials relate to a total of 24 female victims, aged between 15 and 32 at the time of the offences. They all gave evidence at the trials. 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, he highlighted the urgency of check-ups for cervical cancer, breast cancer and other serious illnesses by talking about celebrities who had suffered with similar conditions. The court also heard that Shah was “over-familiar” 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. The thorough and lengthy investigation was led by officers 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. Dr Shah was first arrested in September 2013 in relation to 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.”
The NHS has a dedicated number for any individuals who may have concerns or questions. They can be contacted on 0800 011 4253.