Breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson who carried out unnecessary operations, including mastectomies, on hundreds of patients – possibly to boost his earnings has been jailed for 15 years.
Dozens of victims turned up at Nottingham Crown Court for the sentencing – where the judge told Paterson his arrogance left him feeling untouchable and added to his “complete lack of remorse”.
Judge Jeremy Baker said: “You deliberately played upon their worst fears, either by inventing or deliberately exaggerating the risk that they would develop cancer, and thereby gained their trust and confidence to consent to the surgical procedures which you carried out upon them.”
Before Paterson was jailed, statements from some of his 10 private patients were read out, detailing the impact of his butchery on their lives.
There was applause for John Ingram, who told the court in a victim impact statement that Paterson had carried out “grotesque, violent acts against me”.
The impact statement of Carole Johnson was read out to the court by Julian Christopher QC, prosecuting.
She described Paterson as a “monster”.
Ms Johnson said she “feels violated and vulnerable”, and has “lost a lot of trust in medical professionals”.
She said, since she learnt her operations and procedures were unnecessary, her “world has been turned upside down”.
“I feel part of the woman I used to be, with no confidence at all,” her statement read.
“I do not think I can find it within my heart to ever forgive him.”
Mr Ingram described the surgeon’s needless operations, carried out over more than a decade, as “truly chilling, cruel behaviour…beyond dark.”
Paterson was convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding against 10 patents last month.
The seven-week trial dealt with patients operated on between 1997 and 2011 at the privately run Little Aston and Parkway hospitals in the West Midlands.
Jurors were not told that Paterson had also performed hundreds of unnecessary procedures on NHS patients – with a hospital trust forced to pay out almost £18m in damages and legal fees so far.
Speaking outside court, victim Diane Green called for Paterson’s “co-conspirators” in the medical profession to face justice.
She said: “We need to look to those who were co-conspirators, who let this happen, who saw it happen.
“All those medical people who actually knew what was going on said nothing. These people who turned their backs…we need to find out why they said nothing.”
A 2013 report found complaints about Paterson had been made for years but managers at the NHS trust which employed him “preferred good news to true news”.
Paterson, who has been suspended by the General Medical Council, was allowed to carry on operating on women for several years despite serious concerns raised about him by other staff, the report by lawyer Sir Ian Kennedy found.