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Watch out for Mr Dab Hands .. he's back in circulation; Warning as dodgy masseur returns.

Byline: CHARLIE GALL

A DODGY masseur who was accused of touching up women is back in business despite vowing to lay down his oils.

Denis Shepherd is offering cut-price body rubs and home visits through his one-man massage firm Dab Hands.

Bachelor Shepherd has a glossy colour poster up in his neighbourhood supermarket and has taken out an advert in a local freesheet.

He has cut his rates in half until the end of July in a bid to drum up more trade.

He boasts that his massage therapy is "ideal for relaxation and relieving aches and pains".

One of our female reporters responded to Shepherd's advert and he was only too keen to set up a home visit.

He said: "I do basic massage for just general aches, pains and stiffness, everybody says it's very relaxing.

"I don't click necks or anything like that, it's just basic massaging of the soft tissues.

"I do home visits normally. It's pounds 24 an hour, that's an hour's massage. That would just be pounds 12 with the offer."

Our reporter asked: "So would you come to my house rather than...?"

Desperate Denis immediately cut in: "Yes ,yes." Our reporter made her excuses and hung up. But what other potential customers may not know is that Shepherd, 50, has faced allegations of indecent assault.

And he has also been rejected by his professional body who expelled him and then knocked back his bid to rejoin.

Outcast Shepherd has twice walked free from court after being cleared of sleazy antics.

Before sneaking out by a back door after being cleared for a second time, Shepherd promised: "I've decided I won't continue."

That was almost two years ago but Mr Dab Hands has bounced back with a renewed zest.

He is operating out of his flat in Aberdeen's affluent Rosemount area.

During the first court case in Aberdeen, he was accused by a nurse and a cook of touching them in intimate areas. He was cleared by a not proven verdict despite the sheriff expressing his unease.

Less than a year later, in September 2000, Shepherd was back in the dock denying claims that he touched up four women.

The women, all first-time customers, told how Shepherd had persuaded them to strip down and then stroked their buttocks and breasts.

Yet again, Shepherd was given the benefit of the doubt when Sheriff David Kelbie said the evidence wasn't strong enough.

But the sheriff warned: "I should make it clear I am certainly not giving a certificate of appropriateness to his behaviour or suggest that it's clear what he did was right and proper."

During Shepherd's first trial, the court heard how one woman said Shepherd had touched her between her legs.

The nurse said: "I could feel him on my skin. I couldn't move at all, I kept my eyes shut.

"I didn't feel right after the massage."

Shepherd walked free but the publicity surrounding the case brought other women forward with similar accounts.

At his second trial, a 22-year-old woman told how she had been subjected to Shepherd's "feathering" technique, which involved touched her nipples.

She said: "There is no muscle tissue in your breasts, so he's not meant to touch them at all."

The Scottish Massage Therapists' Organisation, who have thrown Shepherd out, said "feathering" was normally used for facial massage never on women's breasts. Shepherd was suspended by the SMTO and then expelled because his behaviour was deemed as "not appropriate".

Maggie Brooks, chairwoman of the Scottish Massage Therapists' Organisation, said: "No massage techniques are taught by us to be applied to sensitive or private areas of the body, full-stop.

"These are taught and Denis Shepherd would have known these quite clearly."

She confirmed: "Denis Shepherd is not a member of our organisation. He has not been a member since the court cases."

There is no law that prohibits Denis Shepherd from setting up his own practice.

Maggie Brooks added: "If he was a member of the SMTO, we could make sure he follows professional conduct ethics.

"As long as he's not, I'm afraid there's nothing we can do.

"The General Council for Massage Therapy is going to make it easier.

"There is now a national code of ethics but we've to take things that step further and get everything Government-approved."

Any women who wanted to check out their massage therapist should contact the SMTO.

Have you had a massage from Mr Dab Hands? Call us on 0141 309 3251. We'll call you right back. Reputable masseurs can be found through the Scottish Massage Therapists' Organisation on 01224 822956
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 24, 2002
Words:767
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