Northern Ireland

Kesh GP Michelle Mellotte 'dishonestly exploited' patient over £10,000 loan

Michelle Mellotte
Image caption Michelle Mellotte will be sentenced at a hearing next month

A County Fermanagh GP made a "gross error of judgement with catastrophic circumstances" when she took £10,000 from a patient to help her out of financial trouble, a court has heard.

Michelle Mellotte, 61, of Bannagh Beg Road in Kesh, appeared in court after admitting fraud by abuse of her role.

A prosecution barrister said Mellotte "dishonestly exploited" an elderly patient whom she had asked for a loan.

He added that she chose not to repay it until her conduct was investigated.

Confronted

Mellotte, who has since repaid the money, will be sentenced next month.

Omagh Crown Court, sitting in Dungannon, County Tyrone, heard that the victim, Michael McGrory, was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and Mellotte was aware of his condition when she approached him in February 2010 "to ask him for a favour".

He agreed to sign a cheque in the presence of his home carer with a guarantee it would be paid back in the summer of that year.

The carer confronted Mellotte a year later when the money was not repaid, but the doctor told her "not to worry about it".

The money was returned when police began an inquiry.

Duty

Mr McGrory died in 2012 and a defence lawyer said there had been no financial loss to him or his estate.

Mellotte's reputation was now "besmirched", he added, and she had not practiced as a GP for the last five years.

The judge adjourned sentencing until 4 April.

The General Medical Council will decide whether to remove the doctor from the medical register at a hearing on 18 May.