London GP Manish Shah handed three life sentences for 90 sex offences against patients

Shah was jailed for a minimum of 15 years on Friday (PA)

A GP who molested 24 women at his surgery has been handed three life sentences for 90 sex offences against female patients.

Manish Shah, 50, who will serve at least 15 years behind bars, was branded a “master of deception” for persuading patients as young as 15 to undergo unnecessary intimate examinations for his own sexual gratification, the Old Bailey heard. The disgraced doctor preyed on cancer concerns, even citing the cases of Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to trick them into unnecessary and invasive tests.

Shah, 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 year. At an earlier trial in 2018, he was convicted of offences relating to 18 other women, bringing the total number of offences to 90 relating to 24 women.

Fifteen of the victims watched on as Judge Anne Molyneux QC sentenced Shah to three life sentences with a minimum term of 15 years plus further jail terms to run concurrently. She 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 told him: “You made up stories which got into heads and caused panic. “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, the youngest victim described being left “anxious, fearful and shaking” at the prospect of visiting the doctor after being abused by Shah. Speaking in court the woman, who was 15 at the time, said she felt different about men and worried about being seen as a “sex object”.

Summarising other victim impact statements, prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC said the “lack of trust” created by Shah meant many of the women refused to see male doctors and that it had affected their relationships. In mitigation, Zoe Johnson QC said: “Manish Shah will never again be able to practice medicine. “The opportunity to offend and the ability to offend only arose because of Manish Shah’s profession.

“There is not one centile of information to suggest he would offend within the community. Stripped of that profession he is a rather weak man.“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 deeply regrets hurting them and cannot say sorry enough.” The court has heard how Shah picked on patients’ vulnerability, because of their age or family history of cancer. 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. 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. He flouted NHS guidelines on giving healthy women aged under 25 smear tests and routine breast examinations on women under 50, which were said to cause more harm than good, jurors were told. He also breached guidelines on the use of chaperones during intimate examinations.

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.”

Source: Evening Standard