Advising with empathy and experience

Doctor jailed for assaulting patients.

A doctor who groped 15 women and girls, one as young as 12, has been jailed for ten-and-a-half years.

Alan Tutin, 71, assaulted the victims at his practice in Guildford between 1980 and 2004, where his wife was also a practitioner.

Judge Nigel Peters QC, who passed the sentence at the Old Bailey, London, 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.”

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

Tutin, a father of four, of Tonbridge, Kent, denied the charges, saying complainants had misinterpreted him after negative publicity.

After 42 hours deliberation, the jury found Tutin guilty on 15 counts of indecent assault against 15 women including some teenagers.

He was found not guilty on six counts of indecent assault and one of assault by penetration and was acquitted of a further count on the directions of the judge mid-way through the trial.

Jurors were discharged in December 2018 after they could not decide on a further five counts of indecent assault, including charges relating to a nine-year-old girl.

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

The trial heard how Tutin joined the Merrow Park Practice in 1980, where his wife, Angela, was also a partner.

Prosecutor, Sally O’Neill QC, said that, after taking over as senior partner and running the financial side of the business, Tutin “wielded a lot of influence.”

She told jurors: “Tutin appears to have had quite a dominant personality and perhaps a somewhat arrogant and brusque way of dealing with 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.

Ms O’Neill said that, 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.”

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.”

Ms O’Neill added that The General Medical Council (GMC) also became involved and there was a fitness to practice hearing in 2001.

The jury was told that when police were alerted, the defendant was sent a letter warning of the need to have a chaperone present during examinations of female patients.

Tutin stopped practising the following year, in November 2004, and, after a GMC fitness to practice hearing in 2008 and 2009, the criminal investigation was reopened in 2013 and letters were sent to thousands of former patients.

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

 

 

 

 

 

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.