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Trainee doctor jailed for child sex offences

By BBC News - 09.11.2023 - [UK] - [Gary Lawrence] A trainee doctor who sexually assaulted a six-year-old girl during a medical examination in Plymouth has been jailed. Gary Lawrence, 53, of Honicknowle, Plymouth, was in the final stages of his training at an NHS clinic in the North Prospect area of the city when he assaulted the girl in June 2021.

Lawrence also downloaded more than 15,000 images or movies showing child abuse.

He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years at Exeter Crown Court.

A trial heard the girl's mother was present at the 2021 examination and realised there was no proper medical reason for Lawrence to touch her daughter's genitals.

A separate undercover police operation caught Lawrence sharing explicit fantasies about child sex to a decoy officer on a chat site before assaulting the girl. He denied sexual assault but was found guilty at a trial at Plymouth Crown Court in July.

He admitted publishing two obscene article, and five counts of making, by downloading, indecent images of children.

Recorder Mr Donald Tait said during sentencing Lawrence had overseen a "serious breach of trust".

He said: "Before the sexual assault, it is quite clear that you spent a significant period of time accessing indecent images of children and also engaged with an undercover officer.

"Your private viewing of indecent images online crept into your professional life and you committed the sexual assault. "It is hard to conceive a more flagrant and serious breach of trust than this."

The mother of the child who was abused at the surgery wrote a victim impact statement saying she had suffered such severe anxiety and depression that she had been forced to stop work.

Mr Deni Matthews, defending, said his client started looking at images online at a time when he was drinking too much and was drawn into accessing ever more extreme material.

"He understands he will receive a significant sentence," he said. "His career has ended and everything positive in his life has ended.”

The judge thanked the victim and her family, who had to wait more than two years for justice, for their perseverance.

'Despicable and abhorrent'

Det Ch Insp Simon Foster, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said after sentencing the victim and her family had shown "true strength and continual determination".

He said: "The offences committed by Lawrence are the most despicable and abhorrent breaches of trust imaginable by a doctor.

“He was working in a position of high responsibility where he had a duty to protect children and young people. "He chose to abuse that trust and used his position to sexually assault a child."

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.



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