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A SENIOR doctor carried out degrading sex attacks on 22 women after ordering them to strip, a court heard yesterday.

Gynaecologist Paul Vinall, 55, allegedly helped patients take off their underwear, fondled their breasts or private parts, told some to bend over on all fours and ordered others to straddle his knees.

The married dad made comments like "magnificent breasts, ma'am" and "I bet your husband appreciates that", jurors were told.

Consultant Vinall denies 31 counts of indecent assault on women in York-shire hospitals between 1981 and 2000.

Prosecutor Paul Worsley QC said: "His conduct gave him personal satisfaction and caused the patients maximum humiliation and embarrassment.

"He used his position to carry out indecent assaults on these ladies.

"He was confident that they trusted him, that they would not complain, or that he could produce an explanation that touching a lady in a particular manner was appropriate."

Mr Worsley said Vinall often examined patients who were vulner-able or worried about pregnancy or health problems.

One woman was allegedly told by Vinall that she had to have her breasts checked while on all fours because "gravity would assist in the clinical examination of large breasts".

The patient told police it was an "awful and humiliating experience". She went straight home afterwards and had a shower.

Another woman said Vinall indecently assaulted her while her husband sat in the room on the other side of a screen. She said the doctor continued to "chat casually" to her and her husband throughout the attack.

Mr Worsley added: "All these ladies were required to be undressed or he undressed them. On several occasions, Mr Vinall himself removed clothing such as pants and bras in a completely unjustified manner.

"Putting his hand inside a woman's bra would serve no clinical purpose whatsoever. Comments like 'magnificent breasts' and 'I bet your husband appreciates that' give some insight into his attitude."

Vinall allegedly told one woman to strip, then touched her breasts with one hand and her private parts with the other.

The court heard that when another patient told Vinall no other gynaecologist had ever pulled her underwear down, he replied: "Nobody else has examined you properly."

Doctors are advised that a third person, such as a nurse, should always be present at intimate examinations.

But Mr Worsley said Vinall was always alone with his alleged victims, and they were always told to strip naked. The women were not given a towel or gown to cover themselves.

The QC said some women remained Vinall's patients after alleged assaults.

But he told the jury: "You will want to consider whether that is because nothing happened, or whether they were anxious to continue to be treated by an undoubtedly skilled consultant."

Vinall told police he was "staggered" by the allegations and dismissed them as "complete fiction or fantasy".

Mr Worsley said: "It is not suggested for a moment that the defendant indecently assaulted every patient he had.

"No doubt he acted appropriately and skilfully in respect of the many, many patients who still hold him in the highest regard."

Vinall, from Leeds, worked as a consultant at the city's General Infirmary and other hospitals and clinics in West and North Yorkshire.

His trial at Sheffield Crown Court is expected to last eight weeks.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 16, 2002
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