Dr Paul Grout was one of those men
who often risked his life for those of his patients and strangers
alike. But all that changed when, thanks to an invisible predator,
he was arrested and charged with an offence that left him an outcast.
Paul Grout was one of
the east coast's flying doctors who regularly put the public's safety before
Few people know that the daring doctor in the helicopter
was also in fact one of the top trauma doctors in the country.
When the rail disaster at Great Heck caused chaos in
the region it was the Senior Consultant from Hull Royal Infirmary, who
was first to enter the wreckage.
Ten people died in that accident, yet it could have been
plenty more without the assistance of people like Paul Grout.
Yet Paul is no longer called out to emergencies, thanks
to an event that would turn his life upside down.
In October 2002 three police officers came to pay Paul
Thinking it was one of the customary inquiries by police
regarding accidents and arrests, Paul wasn't concerned - until they made
it very clear there were there to arrest him.
"I was put into a car and then driven off to Goole
Police Station," Paul remembers.
|"I felt it was all going to be
sorted out very quickly as I just couldn't believe anything was
His first reaction was that it was all a big mistake,
but he also felt hugely embarrassed at being taken into custody.
But Dr Paul Grout was charged with keeping child pornography
He had become the latest suspect in Operation Ore, an
international investigation in paedophile offences.
FBI agents had linked Paul's computer and credit card
details to child pornography sites in the US.
Susie says it was mayhem when officers searched her house
Back in Yorkshire, Paul's wife Susie was woken by a knock
on the door.
She was confronted by seven officers wanting to search
her home, which they did, from top to bottom.
No stone was left unturned as officers searched their
house, stables and outbuildings.
Police seized computers and files from the home, which
Paul only got back in mid 2004.
Proving his innocence
Paul was certain he had done nothing wrong, but the big
question was whether he was going to be able to prove it.
To many he was guilty until proven innocent.
It was a difficult time for both Paul and Susie. "We've
lost friends through it but you certainly know who your friends are,"
At the time the couple found it difficult to deal with
so-called friends slowly drifting out of their lives.
The process of court appearances also began to take their
toll on Paul. He became stressed and overwhelmed by the accusations.
Within weeks, the high profile leader of Hull Royal Infirmary's
trauma team had been sacked, despite the fact the trial was yet to take
were quick to condemn Paul even before trial
In April 2004 Paul's case finally made it to trial.
The media frenzy awaited Paul and Susie as they arrived
"It was really like running the gauntlet to get
in, it was head down get through it really," Paul says.
Not one pornographic image was found on any of Paul's
computers, but the FBI had detailed evidence of where and when illegal
images were accessed and this was enough to convince the prosecution that
there was a charge to answer.
But the dates and times just didn't add up. Paul Grout's
electronic computer diary became his alibi.
"I was able to show that at one of the times I was
supposed to have carried out these activities I was actually seeing a
person at a prison."
Paul was able to dismiss other dates that were listed
by providing a concrete alibi for each. In one instance Paul was actually
conducting a police custody officer training course.
On the second day of the trail an expert witness testified
that Paul was probably the victim of a computer hacker.
So it seems Paul was only guilty of being careless with
his computer. Numerous colleagues at the hospital knew his password -
Biggles - and his constantly left his wallet in his jacket pocket when
he changed into "scrubs".
But could he convince the court?
"I felt from the start it was an uphill struggle,"
admits Paul, but he kept going and was dramatically cleared.
After four days the judge threw out the case and Paul
walked away a free man, but how could it have happened and who set him
Gary O'Leary-Steele is a hacker. He can crack your password
in a matter of minutes and could discover your personal details without
batting an eyelid.
|Gary O'Leary-Steele says it can take just seconds to hack into someone's system
Luckily he is one of the good guys. Gary is what the
industry calls a "white hacker". He works with large companies
to try stop "black hackers", like the one who set Paul up, in
Gary shows Inside Out just how easily some computer systems
are to hack into and how it probably happened to Paul.
Inside Out sets up a computer system to emulate the one
Paul was using at the hospital at the time he was arrested.
Gary set himself up as a potential hacker on the same
network, in other words - in the same building as Paul.
Paul goes ahead and logs in and within seconds Gary has
cracked the password, which gives him access to any information Paul may
have on his computer.
"It's not much more than clicking buttons really,"
explains Gary. "There's no elite programming that needs to be done.
"Any user who knows computers could break a password
There's no doubt this is worrying information for anyone
who uses a computer.
How it happened is purely academic to the Grouts. They
both know he could be in jail now if he wasn't able to nullify the evidence
from the FBI.
"My heart goes out to anyone who is in that situation
and I wouldn't wish that on anybody.
"We had 18 months of pure hell," says Susie.
|Although he is no longer a "flying doctor" Paul is using his experience to train others
Although Paul was cleared of all charges Hull Royal Infirmary
refused to reinstate him as they already filled the position.
Not surprisingly Paul is angry. He has settled out of court with the hospital
but the whole episode leaves a sour taste in his mouth.
However Paul Grout is, if nothing else, an optimist and
says amazingly enough he has taken some positives from the experience.
"I am now free to move onto newer things, things
that I really enjoy doing."
He is now passing on his medical skills by conducting
medical training for the RAF's air sea rescue crews.
Paul's story is a frightening one, which proves just
how vulnerable we are.
If you would like more information on staying safe on
computers take a look at our Cyber Security