A GP has been jailed after sexually abusing young patients while examining them.
A doctor once regarded as “an upstanding pillar of the community” told parents to wait outside his consulting room while he sexually abused their children.
Robert Wells, 65, who is already serving a jail sentence, admitted four counts of indecent assault relating to his time as a general practitioner at Caerleon Surgery in the 1980s.
Speaking at Cardiff Crown Court, prosecutor Matthew Roberts said: “It is hard to imagine a more serious and grotesque breach of trust.”
The court heard Wells was a registered medical practitioner at the time, but has since been stripped of that title by the General Medical Council.
Prosecutors said the offences related to three girls, who were all patients of Wells at the time.
Mr Roberts said: “All three suffered sexual abuse as children under the pretext of medical examination.”
The court heard the three victims came forward after hearing about a previous court case involving Wells. He was jailed for 15 years in June 2004 after being convicted at Winchester Crown Court of nine counts of child sexual abuse – which happened after these offences.
Mr Roberts said: “He left South Wales in the late 1980s and went on to commit a series of depraved offences.”
Wells was found guilty in 2004 of two counts of rape, three counts of indecent assault and making an indecent image of an 11-year-old girl. He was also found guilty of drugging and indecently assaulting an 11-year-old girl and administering drugs to her five-year-old sister.
Mr Roberts said: “The bond of trust between a doctor and a patient must be sacrosanct.”
He said one of the girl’s mothers had made a complaint to Caerleon Surgery at the time, but it was “arrogantly dismissed”, as she was “told not to be so silly”.
The prosecutor described it as a “gross failing of the system in the 1980s”.
He told the court the defendant would ask the children’s parents to wait outside his consulting room while he examined them.
‘He has destroyed my life’
When he was arrested, Wells told police he had treated more than 600 patients during his career and could not remember each one individually.
He stated he had never sexually assaulted any of his patients.
Prosecutors said he refused to provide any handwriting samples to the police.
In a statement read out in court, one victim said: “He has destroyed my life.”
One victim said the abuse had affected her ability to form relationships and caused her to suffer from depression. Another described the ordeal as “terrifying” and said she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
The third stated the abuse had caused her to self-harm and attempt to kill herself.
She said Wells had been regarded as an “upstanding pillar of the community”.
The defendant, from Cwmbran, pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault after the case was listed for trial.
Ieuan Rees, mitigating, stressed that meant the victims did not have to give evidence.
‘It has destroyed trust’
Judge Jeremy Jenkins described the offending as a “gross breach of trust” and noted the effect on each victim had been “long-lasting and profound”.
He added: “In short, it was done for your own perverted sexual pleasure. It has destroyed their trust in the profession.”
Wells was jailed for seven years and an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order was imposed.
Detective Constable Chris Jayne, from Gwent Police , said: “I would like to take the opportunity to recognise the bravery of the victims and their families in this case.
“Wells is a danger to children and the detrimental impact that he has brought to the lives of the victims from a young age through to adulthood has been incredibly significant. He abused his position of trust as a doctor in the most sinister and opportunistic way against his victims whom he should have been protecting and keeping safe. I hope the sentence given will help to bring some closure for the victims affected and their families.”
What the NSPCC said:
An NSPCC Cymru spokesman said: “Cases like these show how important it is that victims are able to come forward and report child sexual abuse no matter when the offending took place.
“Wells abused his position of trust by targeting and exploiting vulnerable child patients who he should have been protecting from harm.
“It is right that he has finally faced justice for these despicable crimes and police should be commended for working with the victim to ensure Wells faced the courts.”