14 Mar 2011

Camden Ripper’ pathologist found guilty of incompetence

Senior Home Affairs Correspondent

The General Medical Council finds Dr Freddy Patel guilty of incompetence over his findings surrounding his post-mortem on the “Camden Ripper” Anthony Hardy’s first victim, Sally White.

Dr Freddie Patel found guilt of incompetence by GMC

The forensic pathologist involved in the “Camden Ripper” case has been found guilty of acting irresponsibly, incompetently and dishonestly, reports Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Israel.

The General Medical Council (GMC) ruled that Dr Freddy Patel failures brought the profession into disrepute.

Dr Patel decided the Ripper’s first victim, prostitute Sally White died of natural causes. However, the GMC hearing found that Dr Patel’s findings did not properly take into account the location and position of the victims body in a locked room owned by a man recently arrested by police, nor did he consider the presence of blood on the deceased’s clothing and why a bucket of warm water was located next to the body.

“Ripper” Anthony Hardy subsequently went on to kill another two prostitutes, Brigitte MacClellan and Elizabeth Valad whose dismembered bodies were found in a dustbin. After being caught he was tried and jailed for life after pleading guilty to all three murders, despite Dr Patel’s findings.

Twenty-nine allegations against Dr Patel were being investigated by the GMC at the hearing including the validity of one concerning a CV entry. It was also found that he had not considered a range of other potential raesons for death, including asphyxia. A number of the other allegations however, were found to be not proved.

The GMC will now hear submissions as to whether, in light of the proven facts against him, Dr Patel’s ability to practice has been impaired and what sanctions will be taken against him.

Dr Patel was the pathologist blamed for the decision not to prosceute the police officer involved in the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in April 2009. Once again the pathologist decided that Tomlinson had been a victim of a heart attack despite two further examinations suggesting he had actually died of an abdominal haemorrhage.

Investigations into Dr Patel’s professional work stretch back 12 years. In 1999 he was disciplined for discussing a patients medical history with reporters. He was suspended from his Home Office duties in July 2009 and In the last decade a number of other actions have been brought against him for questions raised after other post-mortems. He was supended from all practice in September 2010 for three months after specific findings surrounding three examinations he had conducted.