A FORMER children’s doctor was today found guilty of indecently assaulting young girls at Stoke Mandeville Hospital at the same time Jimmy Savile was abusing patients on the wards.
Michael Salmon, 79, was convicted at Reading Crown Court of indecently assaulting girls at the Buckinghamshire hospital and was also convicted of raping a girl at his home.
He 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.
A jury found him guilty of nine indecent assaults and two rapes carried out against six girls aged 11 to 18, between 1973 and 1988.
Although he worked at Stoke Mandeville at the same time Jimmy Savile is thought to have abused patients at the hospital there is no suggestion of any link between the two.
Salmon had already been struck off the medical register after he admitted three counts of indecent assault against young female patients in 1991.
The father worked as a consultant paediatrician at hospitals in Buckinghamshire including the world-renowned Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury, which was thrown in to the spotlight following disclosures about abuse by the late Savile in 2011.
Miranda Moore QC, prosecuting, said there is “no suggestion that this defendant abused a young female patient in concert with Jimmy Savile”.
“It’s simply that these allegations relate to a time when the other things were happening,” she said.
Prolific child abuser Savile is believed to have carried out his worst offending at the hospital, where he had his own office after setting up the Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust charity in 1981.
The court previously heard how Salmon thought he was “bomb-proof” because no one would believe a child over him.
“On some of the occasions he handled the breasts of some of the young girls, with the pretence of listening to their heart, and he also on occasions carried out internal vaginal examinations, something for which there was no medical need whatsoever, without a nurse present and without wearing surgical gloves,” the court was told.
Salmon raped one of his 16-year-old patients after she turned to him for help, believing she was pregnant.
The now adult victim claimed her doctor confirmed she was pregnant and took her to the bedroom of his home where he raped her, telling her: “One favour deserves another.”
He invited her back a second time after saying she might have been pregnant with twins and again raped her.
Salmon was cleared of carrying out an illegal abortion on both occasions but unanimously convicted of the two rapes.
Salmon was also found not guilty of a further count of rape and another count of indecent assault.
A date for sentencing has not yet been set.
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 who had been 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 at this, they didn’t feel able to tell anyone because they believed the examinations must have been necessary. Some of the offences were committed while the child’s parent was just outside the room.”
The victims first made allegations about Salmon to the Metropolitan Police in 2012 following the launch of Operation Yewtree, which is investigating historic abuse carried out by Savile and others, before the investigation was passed to Thames Valley Police.
Thames Valley Police said further women have come forward with allegations against Salmon since the beginning of the trial last month.
In his police interview Salmon claimed the allegations were “sexual fantasies” made up by “gold diggers” and described teenagers as unreliable witnesses.
An NHS report into the abuse carried out by Savile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital was delayed last year to gather new evidence and has yet to be published.
Adrian Foster, chief prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Thames and Chiltern said: “Michael Salmon has been convicted today of offences which are particularly shocking due to the abuse of his position as a doctor taking advantage of the female patients in his care.
“His crimes were extremely traumatic for his victims, who should have expected his support rather than this gross betrayal of their trust.
“Michael Salmon used his status to molest these vulnerable young girls and women who felt unable to complain as he was a doctor, and many of whom only bravely came forward after seeing other cases in the media.
“I hope they now feel that justice has been done.”