England

Former GP Alan Tutin jailed over patient sex assaults

Former GP Alan Tutin Image copyright PA
Image caption Alan Tutin groped his patients while at Merrow Park Practice in Guildford

A former GP has been jailed for 10-and-a-half years for sexually assaulting women and girls, one aged just 12, over a 24-year period.

Alan Tutin, 71, assaulted patients at a Guildford surgery after they went to him with minor ailments including a sore throat and a mole.

Jurors heard Tutin, of Matfield, Kent, asked one to undress so he could take her blood pressure but then groped her.

He was convicted of 15 counts of sexual assault at the Old Bailey in December.

Jailing him, Judge Nigel Peters QC, said: "There cannot be a more serious abuse of trust that these courts have to deal with than that of a doctor and a patient.

"You violated the faith your patients had in you. You carried out wholly unnecessary procedures and examinations, no doubt to fuel your own sexual gratification."

'Like Benny Hill'

Father-of-four Tutin carried out unnecessary breast and internal examinations on patients at the Merrow Park Practice, where his wife was also a GP, between 1980 and 2004.

Jurors heard one woman describe how he touched her breasts in a "Benny Hill way", fondling them "as though he was feeling a couple of melons".

Prosecutor Sally O'Neill QC told the court that at the time of the offences, there was a culture of "doctor knows best" and a "general disinclination to complain or make a fuss".

Complaints about Tutin were made in 1999 and two trials were held, but neither led to any "adverse findings", the Old Bailey heard.

Investigations by police and the General Medical Council followed and Tutin was given a warning in 2003 before he stopped practising the following year.

He was arrested in 2006, but there was no prosecution until the criminal investigation reopened in 2013.

Teenage girls

Tutin had been accused of molesting 25 female patients, including a child who was nine.

In December, jurors convicted him of 15 offences against 15 women, some of whom were teenagers at the time, but cleared him of eight other offences.

The jury was discharged after they could not decide on a further five counts of indecent assault, including charges relating to the nine-year-old girl.

A retrial was held at Blackfriars Crown Court on three charges, but Tutin was cleared on Tuesday.

Representing the disgraced doctor, Louise Sweet QC said: "Prison is hard for a man of no experience, let alone a man of his years."

An NSPCC spokesman said: "Tutin's patients went to him in good faith, seeking his wisdom and reassurance.

"Instead he used his position for his own depravity over two decades, targeting vulnerable women and young girls."

Det Ch Insp Richard Haycock, of Surrey Police, said Tutin abused his position to assault his patients: "This was a gross breach of the trust that they placed in him."

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