Physio sexually assaulted patients, court told

A court heard punters were ripped-off in an internet scam
A court heard punters were ripped-off in an internet scam
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A NHS physiotherapist allegedly carried out sex assaults on two female patients at his clinics “masquerading under the guise of medical treatment”, a court was told.

Richard Scholefield, 47, groped the breasts and groin area of a 39-year-old woman and massaged cream into her chest.

He also got a 16-year-old girl to remove her boxer shorts and touched her intimately as he mumbled to himself, a jury at Sheffield Crown Court heard.

The older woman said at one stage her legs were spread apart “like a frog” and Schofield put her in the “Morecambe and Wise” position with one hand behind her neck as he rubbed her body.

When the physio finished the examination, his hands were shaking and he said to her: “It looks like you have enjoyed that.”

She was so distressed when she returned home her furious partner threatened to “have it out” with the defendant.

Scholefield, who worked as an NHS physiotherapist in the South Yorkshire area, was arrested when the 39-year-old woman went to the police. It was discovered that the teenager’s mother had earlier reported him to his bosses.

Scholefield, of Birkby, Huddersfield, denies four offences of sexual assault against the 39-year-old and one sexual assault against the teenager, who is now 18, when both were alone in his treatment room.

Michael Slater, prosecuting, said the older woman went to see the physio at Mount Vernon Hospital in Barnsley in June last year with a back complaint.

Scholefield massaged towards the top of her buttocks and hips, before pulling down her boxer shorts and splaying her legs.

As he began to massage her groin area, she said she was “having serious doubts about what was going on”.

Said Mr Slater: “If nothing more than asking herself why if she had a back condition was she lying on her back when it was her back that needed the treatment?”

He continued to work on her inner thighs and pulled her shorts aside, exposing her “for reasons she couldn’t understand”.

“At the time she was distressed and had her eyes closed. She was praying it would soon be over,” said Mr Slater.

The first alleged assault happened on May 4 last year at a clinic in Penistone, when the 16-year-old girl went in with a hip problem.

Scholefield asked her to remove her boxer shorts. The girl trusted his professional judgment and then found him touching her intimately.

“He didn’t speak to her while this was going on but was mumbling to himself,” said Mr Slater.

Mr Slater said the behaviour of the physio towards the girl was “wholly inappropriate” and towards the second complainant was “mostly for this defendant’s gratification rather than alleviate any condition she was suffering from”.

When interviewed by police, Scholefield said he had treated the 39-year-old properly. He denied touching her inappropriately and never saw her exposed.

Scholefield described the teenager to officers as “a striking young lady, a pretty little girl”. He said he was “nowhere near” her intimate area.

The trial continues.