‘Breast butcher’ surgeon jailed for five more years

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Aug 04, 2017
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The original sentence for Ian Paterson did not reflect the gravity of his crimes, the Court of Appeal ruled

Elizabeth Cook/PA

A breast surgeon jailed for carrying out needless operations on patients he wrongly said had cancer has had his 15-year sentence increased to 20 year (Katie Gibbons writes).

Ian Paterson, 59, carried out mastectomies that left his victims disfigured and traumatised. He was convicted of wounding with intent and unlawful wounding against ten patients in May. Yesterday Court of Appeal judges deemed his original sentence “unduly lenient” after it was referred to the court by the solicitor-general, Robert Buckland, QC.

Paterson, who appeared via video link unshaven and wearing a red T-shirt, will serve his 20-year sentence in isolation at Nottingham Prison. Nicholas Johnson, QC, of KCH Garden Square chambers in Nottingham, appeared for Paterson and told the court that the surgeon’s “truly notorious” crimes made him a marked man and he was banned from contact with other prisoners.

Lady Justice Hallett said that the harm and culpability of Paterson’s crimes were exceptionally high. The judges concluded that the 15-year sentence was not sufficient to reflect the seriousness and the totality of his offending.

Lady Justice Hallett said: “How any doctor, let alone one who had earned an enviable reputation, could have engaged in this level of offending we will never know. Greed, self-aggrandisement, power . . . they do not come close to explaining how a doctor can falsely tell a patient he or she has cancer when they have not, with all that such a diagnosis entails for a patient and members of their family.”

In October more than 500 of Paterson’s private patients who had unnecessary operations will seek compensation at the High Court.

Linda Millband, a solicitor at the law firm Thomspons, who is representing them, said: “Many of our clients were subjected to significant harm at the hands of Mr Paterson and some have been left with life-long conditions. While no length of sentence can undo this harm, it seems right and fair that this otherwise lenient sentence was revised.”

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