Dirty doctor likened to Benny Hill faces sentence for groping 15 patients

Dirty doctor likened to Benny Hill faces sentence for groping 15 patients
Dirty doctor likened to Benny Hill faces sentence for groping 15 patients

A dirty doctor likened to comedian Benny Hill will be sentenced on Friday for groping 15 patients under the guise of intimate medical examinations.

Former GP Alan Tutin, 71, was accused of molesting 25 females as young as nine years old for his own "sexual gratification" during his 24-year career at the Merrow Park Practice in Guildford, Surrey.

The patients visited Tutin with a range of minor illnesses including a sore throat, a mole, water retention and for the pill but ended up with unnecessary and inappropriate breast and internal examinations, jurors were told.

The father-of-four, now of Crittenden Road, near Tonbridge, Kent, denied indecent assaults between 1981 and 2004, saying the complainants had misinterpreted him in light of negative publicity.

Alan Tutin court case
Alan Tutin court case

The jury deliberated for 42 hours to find Tutin guilty on 15 counts of indecent assault against 15 women, some of whom were teenagers at the time.

Tutin was found not guilty on six counts of indecent assault and one of assault by penetration.

He was acquitted of a further count on the directions of the judge mid-way through the trial.

Jurors were discharged on December 14 last year after they could not decide in a further five counts of indecent assault, including the charges relating to the nine-year-old girl.

Following a retrial at Blackfriars Crown Court, he was acquitted of three charges.

The trial heard how Tutin joined the Guildford surgery in 1980 where his wife Angela was also a partner.

Having taken over as senior partner and running the financial side of the business, he "wielded a lot of influence", prosecutor Sally O'Neill QC said.

She told jurors: "Tutin appears to have had quite a dominant personality and perhaps a somewhat arrogant and brusque way of dealing with both patients and staff. He may also have been somewhat old-fashioned in his approach to patients and did not explain to them all the time what he was doing before he did it and why it was necessary.

"He may have felt himself to be untouchable and unchallengeable at the time because of his position both in the practice and in society and, no doubt, you will want to bear in mind that things have changed over the years in relation to how a doctor should conduct himself towards a patient."

Jurors heard how Tutin touched one woman's breasts with both hands, fondling and squeezing them in what she described as a "really immature Benny Hill way as though he was feeling a couple of melons".

The woman, then in her 20s, said she felt "confused" and the GP gave no explanation why he was doing it, jurors heard.

He "almost smirked" after telling another young woman to take her top off so he could take her blood pressure, then groping her, the court heard.

At the time of the offences there was a "general disinclination to complain or make a fuss" and a level of trust that "doctor knows best", Ms O'Neill said.

The court heard there were criminal allegations of sexual abuse in 1999 resulting in two trials, none of which involved any of the complainants nor resulted in any "adverse findings".

The General Medical Council (GMC) also became involved and there was a Fitness to Practice hearing in 2001 which did include some of the women in this case, Ms O'Neill said.

Police and the GMC were alerted and although it did not result in a prosecution or disciplinary action, the defendant was sent a letter warning about the need to have a chaperone present during examinations of female patients, jurors heard.

The defendant stopped practising the following year, in November 2004.

The court heard how other women came forward and the defendant was arrested in January 2006.

There was no prosecution then but there was a GMC Fitness to Practice hearing in 2008 and 2009 at which some of the current complainants gave evidence. It ended in a guilty finding in relation to assaults on five women.

The criminal investigation was reopened in 2013 and letters were sent to thousands of former patients at the practice, the court heard.

Giving evidence, Mrs Tutin told jurors that her husband had felt suicidal because of the trial.

Following the retrial, Tutin was remanded in custody to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday by Judge Nigel Peters QC.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Haycock, of Surrey Police, said: "Alan Tutin completely abused his position to sexually assault his female patients of a variety of age ranges over a long period of time. This was a gross breach of the trust that they placed in him as a doctor. "