Perverted physiotherapist struck-off for secretly filming Sheffield patients

Paul Leach was jailed after he admitted to secretly filming patients for his own sexual gratification
Paul Leach was jailed after he admitted to secretly filming patients for his own sexual gratification

A perverted physiotherapist, who admitted to secretly filming patients at two Sheffield practices over a period of at least a year, has now been struck-off.

In a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court in June last year, Judge Paul Watson QC sentenced Paul Leach, of Ravencarr Road, Castlebeck to 12 weeks in prison after he admitted to three counts of filming a person doing a private act.

All three offences were committed in January 2016 while Leach, aged 46, was working at two private physiotherapy practices in Sheffield.

Leach went on to admit he had 'been filming service users covertly at two different practices when they were in the treatment room, on a daily basis for about 12 months and maybe longer' for his own sexual gratification.

The names of the practices have not been disclosed.

After Leach's offending came to light, the profession's governing body, the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), suspended him from practicing as a physiotherapist.

The organisation's investigating panel chose to permanently ban Leach from the profession, during a hearing held this week.

They concluded: "In the absence of any written submissions or information from the Registrant [Leach], the Panel found that he has demonstrated no insight into the effect his offending has had on his victims, only himself and his family. He has not demonstrated any understanding of the sense of betrayal and violation felt by the service users, whose trust he abused.

"Nor has the Registrant demonstrated any insight into why he behaved in the way he did and so what steps he might need to take to ensure he never offends in this way in the future."

Documents that went before the panel on Tuesday revealed how Leach was finally caught on January 15, 2016 when a young woman who had been receiving treatment from him for injuries suffered in a car accident manage to seize the phone he had secretly been filming her on.

The report said: "She first became suspicious on January 7, 2016 when the Registrant [Leach] asked her to perform various exercises and movements in her bra.

"The Registrant then unclipped Service User A’s bra before massaging her back, albeit not on or near the area of her back where the bra strap was situated. Service User A also saw what appeared to be a camera phone concealed in the treatment room.

"Service User A returned for treatment on January 15, 2016 and due to her concerns asked her mother to accompany her.

"She again saw the concealed phone. She confronted the Registrant and he denied that he was filming her and attempted to get rid of the mobile phone. She called her mother and, after a short struggle, she was able to recover the phone and call the police."

Leach was then arrested and had his phone seized.

Police found a recording of another service user, referred to as Service User B, on Leach's phone that had been taken earlier that day.

"The Registrant admitted to police that he had filmed Service User A on 15 January 2016 and on the first occasion that she attended for treatment. He also admitted filming Service User B earlier that day. He went on to admit that he had been filming service users covertly at two different practices when they were in the treatment room, on a daily basis for about 12 months and maybe longer," the report stated.

In addition to his sentence, Judge Watson QC also placed Leach on the sex offenders' register for a period of seven years.

As well as working at private practices, Leach also worked at Rotherham General Hospital earlier on in his career - but he is not thought to have been working at the hospital at the time of the offences in question.

Commenting after Leach's conviction last June, Cheryl Clements, Director of Workforce at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The allegations against Mr Leach occurred a number of years after his employment with The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust came to an end.

"We have no information which leads us to believe that he may have committed similar offences while employed at the Trust.”