Sex assault Norfolk Police GP 'wrote own medical exam rules'

Published
Image source, Norfolk Police
Image caption,
Dr Hugh Blaise O'Neill admitted indecently assaulting 13 mainly new female recruits

A doctor who carried out medical checks on new police recruits was given "a licence to commit indecent assaults", a report has found.

Hugh Blaise O'Neill was investigated by Norfolk Police in 1993 after some female recruits said he assaulted them during medical examinations.

However, O'Neill was allowed to write the rules for future examinations, the Eastern Daily Press has found.

He is currently serving a jail term for indecently assaulting 13 officers.

The report was released as a freedom of information request by the Eastern Daily Press, and showed the Serious Crime Directorate for Kent Police and Essex Police investigated why Norfolk Police's investigations in 1993 and 2003 did not result in action being taken against the doctor.

O'Neill, of Tasburgh near Norwich, was jailed for 12 years in January 2015 for raping two girls between 1995 and 2002.

'Great regret'

Three years were added to this term in 2016 after he admitted the indecent assaults of the police officers between 1991 and 2001.

The report said: "Had the 1993 allegations been properly investigated it is likely that this would have led at the very least to his dismissal as the force medical examiner and would have safeguarded future female recruits from the assaults and ordeal that they have had to endure."

A second investigation into O'Neill's behaviour was launched in 2003, but the report's author said the emphasis of this "was on disproving the allegations rather than proving them".

The officers' allegations were re-investigated after two women came forward in 2014 to say they had been raped by the GP when they were children.

Norfolk Police has paid out more than £250,000 in settlements and costs.

A Norfolk Police spokeswoman said: "It is a matter of great regret that neither of the previous enquiries resulted in criminal convictions and there were a number of errors made in procedures both times."

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