A FORMER children’s doctor has been convicted of sexually assaulting young girls at Stoke Mandeville Hospital during the 1970s and 1980s, at the same time Jimmy Savile was abusing patients there.
Michael Salmon, 80, was also convicted of twice raping a 16-year-old patient at his home after she turned to him for help over a possible pregnancy.
He was found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault and two of rape against six girls aged 12 to 18.
Salmon carried out many of his attacks behind a screen in his consulting room while his victim’s parents waited, believing he was completing a medical examination.
He worked as a consultant paediatrician at hospitals in Buckinghamshire including Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, which was thrown in to the spotlight in 2011 following disclosures that paedophile Savile, who had an office there, repeatedly abused patients.
Miranda Moore, QC, prosecuting, told Reading Crown Court there was “no suggestion Salmon had abused a young female patient in concert with Savile”, adding: “It’s simply that these allegations relate to a time when the other things were happening.”
Allegations of sex assaults carried out by another doctor at the hospital were investigated by police until it was discovered he had died. An NHS report into historical abuse at Stoke Mandeville in light of the Savile allegations was delayed last year to gather new evidence and has yet to be published.
After the verdict, Detective Sergeant Malcolm Wheeler, from the child abuse investigation unit at Thames Valley Police, said: “Salmon was a prolific sexual offender who abused his position of power in order for his own sexual gratification.
“As a consultant paediatrician, he preyed on young girls referred to him for a variety of health issues. They trusted him, they believed him because he was a doctor, and they thought he was trustworthy.
“On a number of occasions, he carried out unnecessary internal examinations on young girls.
“Although they felt uncomfortable they didn’t feel able to tell anyone because they believed the examinations must have been necessary. Some offences were committed while the child’s parent was just outside the room.”
He added that further women had come forward with allegations against Salmon since the start of the trial last month.
A solicitor who represented some of the witnesses said Salmon’s behaviour in court had been “frankly disgusting”.
Liz Dux said: “That he acted in such an arrogant fashion throughout and put them through the trauma of giving evidence is frankly disgusting, but they will be relieved that justice has been done.”
Salmon claimed the allegations were “sexual fantasies” made up by “gold diggers” and described teenagers as unreliable witnesses.
He had already been struck off the medical register in 1991 after he was sent to jail over three counts of indecent assault against young female patients.
During the four-week trial, the court heard Salmon thought he was “bomb-proof” because no-one would believe a child over him. He handled girls’ breasts pretending to listen to their hearts and carried out vaginal examinations bare-handed and without a nurse present.
Salmon raped one 16-year-old patient after she turned to him for help, believing she was pregnant. She was invited her to his home, where he confirmed she was pregnant, telling her: “One favour deserves another.”
He invited her back after warning she might be having twins and again raped her.