A retired doctor convicted of sex offences against 47 women over more than three decades has been jailed for 12 years.
Krishna Singh, 72, was convicted of 54 charges, mainly of indecent and sexual assault, following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow which ended last month.
The offences happened between January 1984 and 2018, mainly at a medical practice in North Lanarkshire but also at a police office and a hospital accident and emergency department.
The married GP, who was awarded an MBE for medical services, also targeted girls under 16 and pregnant women who went to his surgery in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.
His actions included kissing and hugging patients, touching their breasts and making inappropriate comments to them.
Sentencing Singh when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday, Lord Armstrong said: ‘You have been convicted after trial of 54 charges of calculated and manipulative sexual abuse of 47 women and girls in relation to who, as a general practitioner, you were in a clear position of trust.
‘You perpetrated these crimes against your female patients persistently over a period of 34 years.’
Retired GP Krishna Singh, 72, was convicted of 54 charges, mainly of indecent and sexual assault, following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow
The married GP, who was awarded an MBE for medical services, targeted women, girls under 16 and pregnant women who went to his surgery in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire
He said that Singh breached his position of trust and carried out unnecessary examinations, telling him: ‘You undermined the trust of the medical profession by eroding the trust that women would have had.’
Lord Armstrong said that victim impact statements showed that Singh’s actions had a ‘devastating impact’ on his victims, some of whom now have a distrust of the medical profession while others have suffered depression, low self-esteem and anxiety.
He sentenced the 72-year-old to 12 years behind bars and placed him on the sex offenders register.
Singh’s defence agent, Janice Green, said he had expressed ‘extreme regret’ at his actions.
She said: ‘Dr Singh knows that custody is the only disposal appropriate given the grave breach of trust. The seriousness of the offences arises from the breach of trust.’
The 72-year-old had denied the charges against him.
Singh qualified as a doctor in India in 1974.
He registered with the General Medical Council as a doctor in November 1976 before taking up a job as a GP at a practice in North Lanarkshire, where he remained until 2018.
Singh also took up a position as a police casualty surgeon between 2005 and 2010 in Scotland, during which he examined people in custody.
An investigation into Singh ensued after NHS Lanarkshire received a complaint about him in 2018.
There was fury from his victims and campaigners about how Singh was able to continue offending for so long.
NHS Lanarkshire described his crimes as a ‘despicable breach of trust’. Some of the women now plan civil actions against the authorities to secure compensation for the suffering they endured at the hands of a predator ‘cloaked in the garb of a respectable and trusted family doctor’.
Groups supporting victims of sexual violence also believe there may still be more victims to come forward.
Sandy Brindley, the chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: ‘The details of this case showing the extent of abusive behaviour displayed by Singh are disturbing.
Singh was convicted of various types of assault in a range of locations
The 72-year-old had denied the charges against him. Singh qualified as a doctor in India in 1974
‘These deliberate and persistent violations of power and trust are disgraceful and should never have happened.
‘Serious questions must be asked about how this man was able to continue this criminal behaviour in plain sight for such a long period of time.’
Laura Connor, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors, which is representing some of the women, said: ‘This guilty verdict is vindication for all of Singh’s victims who have been hugely courageous throughout the whole trial process. This man abused women in his community for decades and questions must be asked about how he got away with it for so long.
‘As with many other abusers who operated on a massive scale, he committed his crimes within plain sight cloaked in the garb of a respectable and trusted family doctor.’
He had qualified as a doctor in 1974 after training in India, and became a GP in Coatbridge in the early 1980s, working first at the Blairgrove Surgery before moving to Blairgrove Medical Practice.
He was seen as a trusted pillar of the local community treating generations of families and was also employed as a police casualty surgeon, which included examining victims of sexual violence.
But in her speech to jurors, prosecutor Angela Gray said: ‘The Crown case is that Dr Singh was in a routine of offending against women.
‘Sometimes subtle or camouflaged, other times obvious and flagrant.
‘Sexual offending was part of his working life: access to women when the situation arose and taking the chances when he could.
‘A quick feel, a look in an intimate area, an indecent comment.
‘This was his way of working, hiding in plain sight.’
Singh was only reported to police in 2018 after a woman made a complaint to NHS Lanarkshire following publicity about the ‘Me Too’ movement.
The 30-year-old had been molested in 2012, which included being kissed and Singh looking down her underwear, and in her letter she said: ‘Inappropriate behaviour took place on a couple of occasions when I required medical attention.’
Her complaint triggered an investigation which uncovered dozens of victims who came forward to give evidence at Singh’s two-month trial at Glasgow High Court.
One of the victims was a 50-year-old hospital worker who was examined by Singh at Motherwell police station, Lanarkshire, in 2008 after she reported being raped.
The woman was left shocked after the GP quizzed her on whether sex was consensual.
She told jurors: ‘He asked me if I had been wearing a skirt and I said I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He asked how low my top was and if my cleavage was showing. He was asking if I was being provocative… he said, “So, you are not a good time girl”.’
A man told jurors how he threatened to assault Singh after catching him groping his then pregnant wife in the mid-90s.
Other victims told how they thought of Singh as a ‘creep’ and a ‘wee pervert’.
Another tried to make her medication last longer to delay having to see him.
The court heard how victims were often hesitant about reporting Singh through the years.
Women felt they would not be heard as Singh was latterly senior partner at the surgery and his wife Gayatri was practice manager.
Asked why she had not spoken up at the time, one victim said: ‘I thought me being a teenager or young adult, well, who is going to believe me above an adult in a respected position?’
In court, Singh denied the crimes and claimed things such as touching breasts ‘simultaneously’ had been taught to him during medical training in India.
He showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out after the jury had been deliberating for two days. He was supported in court by members of his family.
Singh was convicted of 54 charges against the victims, with the crimes mainly consisting of multiple sexual and indecent assaults.
The jury returned not proven verdicts on nine others charges and not guilty on a further two.
The offences mainly occurred at medical practices in Lanarkshire, but also at a hospital accident and emergency department and a police station as well as during visits to patients’ homes.
Lord Armstrong deferred sentencing until next month and Singh was bailed but told to surrender his passport.
Dr Linda Findlay, medical director for South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: ‘Krishna Singh’s actions were a despicable breach of trust and a total abuse of the patient-doctor relationship.’
Detective Inspector Stephen Morris, of the Specialist Crime Division, said: ‘His predatory behaviour was appalling for a man in his position.’
Trusted family GP who was finally brought to justice in wake of Weinstein sex scandal
BY EMMA COWING
For more than 35 years Krishna Singh hid in plain sight, cloaked in the respectability of his role as a family GP.
He was a pillar of the community, a grandfather, and so well-regarded within the medical profession he was awarded an MBE for his services.
Yet behind the kindly façade lay a cold-hearted predator who used his position to molest dozens of female patients over a period of decades.
Now 72 years old, a frail, diminished figure in a face mask as he arrived at court each morning, father-of-three Singh is facing years in jail after being found guilty of sex crimes against 48 patients. And yet his prison time is unlikely to stretch as long as his reign of terror behind the red brick walls of Coatbridge Health Centre, where he became a senior partner.
Over the past six weeks, woman after woman stepped into the witness box at Glasgow’s High Court with chilling accounts of a doctor who abused his position in order to interfere with female patients.
Dr Singh was a senior partner at Coatbridge Medical Centre, pictured, in Lanarkshire where his wife served as practice manager
The picture that emerged was of a man who was as indiscriminate as he was callous with his victims, who included pregnant women, a rape victim, and teenage children. That he insisted on pleading not guilty, thus forcing them to relive their harrowing experiences all over again in court, only served to show how little empathy he felt for his victims.
Singh qualified as a doctor at Patna University in his native India in 1974. Not long afterwards he arrived in the UK and registered with the General Medical Council in 1976.
In the early 1980s he joined Coatbridge Health Centre, which is housed today in a low, modern building that looks out over an Asda car park.
For years, Singh was able to get away with his crimes because many women felt they would not be heard, not only because Singh was a senior partner at the surgery, but because his wife was the practice manager.
Instead, patients did what they could to avoid him. One woman told the court she tried to make her medication last longer to delay going back. Others took friends or relatives along to appointments.
Even that did not always work: one man told the court he had threatened to assault Singh after the doctor groped his pregnant wife’s breasts in front of him.
Meanwhile, Singh’s dependable local reputation led to him being appointed a police casualty surgeon between 2005 and 2010, which involved him examining victims of sexual violence. Here, too, he committed crimes.
Among them was a 50 year-old hospital worker who was examined by Singh at Motherwell police station in March 2008 after she reported being raped.
The woman was left shocked after the GP quizzed her on whether sex was consensual.
She told jurors: ‘He asked me if I had been wearing a skirt and I said I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He asked how low my top was and if my cleavage was showing.
‘He was asking if I was being provocative…he said: “So, you are not a good time girl”.’ He then went on to molest her.
Another ex-patient told the court how Singh would ‘press and prod’ around her pant line even if it was a check-up on a sore throat. She was initially a teenager when going to see the GP and said it was a ‘running joke’ between friends what Singh was like.
But, asked now what she thought, the 39-year-old mother stated: ‘If that was my daughter, I would be sitting in the dock on a murder charge. No professional should act like that.’
It wasn’t until 2018 that one woman, inspired by the ‘Me Too’ movement that burgeoned in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal – when dozens of women came forward accusing the Hollywood mogul of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse over a period of at least 30 years – made the brave decision to come forward.
In a letter of complaint to NHS Lanarkshire she claimed that Singh had molested her in 2012.
‘Inappropriate behaviour took place on a couple of occasions when I required medical attention,’ she wrote. ‘I was asked if I was having sex with my boyfriend and he told me not to.’
Her complaint triggered a huge investigation – named Operation Rule – involving Police Scotland, with letters sent to all patients asking if they could help. They were inundated with responses.
For those who knew the grand-father, there is shock and disbelief that such a stalwart of the community could be behind such heinous crimes.
One man who had professional dealings with Singh said yesterday he was ‘well-regarded’ in his field. ‘This has come as a bit of a shock because I’ve not heard a thing about this, even from people who worked with him,’ he told the Mail. ‘Nobody ever had a bad word to say about him.
‘I knew people who worked with him at the practice and there were Chinese whispers about a lot of things, but nothing about this.
‘I saw him just a few days ago walking down the road, he put his hand up to wave. He was looking particularly frail. It’s quite unusual to see him out and about.’
Set back from a busy main road, Singh’s home is an imposing if slightly dilapidated double fronted villa. Yesterday there were normal signs of domesticity, a pair of trainers by the door and some paint splattered garden gloves. But the downstairs curtains had been tightly drawn and elsewhere, another window was covered up with cardboard and carrier bags.
Neighbours described Dr Singh as ‘quiet’ and ‘very private’.
News of his crimes were met with a great sense of shock.
‘I was really surprised when I heard. It was very unexpected,’ said one woman.
There was also concern over who may have fallen victim.
She added: ‘I had a delivery driver here asking me about it the other day because he knew someone who was a patient.’
In this close, tight-knit community, Singh has left a long trail of victims in his wake. And as he awaits sentencing, there will be those asking how one man could have continued to abuse the very patients he was meant to care for, for so long.
Additional reporting by Bethan Sexton