World-renowned heart surgeon who was convicted of molesting two women is spared jail by a female judge who says he should be allowed to operate again
- Mohamed Amrani guilty of groping woman’s breasts between 2003 and 2004
- Decade later he smacked woman’s bottom at Bupa’s private Cromwell Hospital
- Consultant has performed a string of life-saving operations around the world
- Judge Anne Molyneux described him as an ‘outstandingly good heart surgeon’
A world-renowned heart surgeon has been spared jail for molesting two women after a judge said it may be in the public interest for him to operate again.
Mohamed Amrani, 54, was found guilty of twice groping a woman’s breasts through her clothes at the Harefield Hospital in west London between 2003 and 2004.
A decade later, in 2014, he smacked another woman’s bottom at Bupa’s private Cromwell Hospital in Kensington.
The consultant has performed a string of life-saving operations around the world and hit the headlines in 2007 when he performed the UK’s first double heart valve replacement using keyhole surgery.
Mohamed Amrani, 54, (pictured at the Old Bailey) was found guilty of twice groping a woman’s breasts through her clothes at the Harefield Hospital
Judge Anne Molyneux described him as an ‘outstandingly good heart surgeon’ as she sentenced him to six months imprisonment, suspended for a year, at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
She told Amrani: ‘You have saved lives, you have done work others were not willing to do, you have shown commitment to the NHS, you have given time to work for charity.’
The court heard Amrani, of Harrow in west London, has been suspended since 2015, and now faces disciplinary action from his professional body, the GMC, where he could be struck off.
But his barrister, Stephen Vullo QC, said Amrani has been offered a job in Morocco, where GMC restrictions do not apply, adding he hoped he would receive a suspension with the prospect of returning to work in the UK.
The judge said ‘the public interest may well be in favour of your operating again’, as she concluded a suspended sentence could be imposed.
Amrani stood trial over accusations from five women between 2001 and 2014.
He denied all of the allegations, but last month a jury found him guilty of two indecent assaults and a sexual assault on two different women.
The court heard how the first had complained to the hospital about being indecently assaulted and was allegedly told ‘just ignore him, he does it to everyone’.
Her husband described it as ‘a pretty devastating event’ in her life.
A decade later, in 2014, he smacked another woman’s bottom at Bupa’s private Cromwell Hospital in Kensington
He told the court she came home and was ‘very, very upset’, adding: ‘My wife told me she had been groped and I understood that to be touching her over her clothing in a sexual manner.’
The judge described the attacks as ‘workplace bullying of a sexual nature’, adding: ‘This was an abuse of power arising from the trust placed in you by the hospital and by those who worked with you. You had been given the power because of the trust.’
The court heard that when Amrani smacked his second victim on the bottom in an operating theatre she turned around to slap his face.
She told jurors: ‘He looked surprised. He said “would you really hit me?” I said “yes I would”‘.
Judge Molyneux told Amrani: ‘This was a sexual assault. What the incident demonstrates is your sense of entitlement and your instinct to rely on your power to do as you pleased.’
The judge described Amrani’s sex attacks in Harefield as ‘fleeting, unplanned, spontaneous outbursts’ which have left the vulnerable victim suffering from anxiety and difficulties sleeping.
Prosecutor Peter Clement QC suggested Amrani had ‘abused his position’. Pictured, Harefield Hospital in west London
The woman said in a statement: ‘I tried to put the whole incident behind me, but in time I realised Mr Amrani’s behaviour towards colleagues was not isolated.’
Prosecutor Peter Clement QC suggested Amrani had ‘abused his position’.
‘What is plain is that this defendant held a position which brought with it not only a high seniority, but a high degree of responsibility and on one view offended in the belief that by virtue of his position his offending would not be reported, or if reported, his accusers would not be believed,’ he added.
Amrani received concurrent four-month sentences for two counts of indecent assault and a consecutive two-month jail term for sexual assault. The six-month prison sentence was suspended for a year.
Amrani was acquitted of four further counts of indecent assault, two of assault by penetration and one of sexual assault.
He was born in Morocco and qualified as a doctor in Belgium before coming to the UK in 1993.
Ten years later the BBC reported that he had carried out the first heart bypass operation on a conscious patient.
Then in 2006 he was again hailed for performing the UK’s first double valve transplant using keyhole surgery.
Amrani divorced his first wife the same year before marrying Clare Amrani, an aesthetic nurse practitioner he met on a trip to Egypt.
After deliberating for 23 hours, jurors were discharged, having failed to reach a verdict on a charge of rape, and neither the complainant or prosecutors chose to seek a retrial. A not guilty verdict was entered.
Mr Vullo said Amrani was an ‘exceptional person with a flaw’, adding: ‘Where somebody has extraordinary, if not unique, skills of course the public interest may be more in favour of allowing that person to work again.’
Amrani must sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years and he was ordered to pay £8,000 in prosecution costs and carry out 25 days of rehabilitation activities.
His barrister Stephen Vulo QC, who represented disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris, said the GMC will have the option of suspending him for just 12 months – but they could also bar him from practise for five years or erase him from the medical register permanently.
The Trust may now face questions over whether they failed to take action because of Amrani’s earning power.
Dr Ian McGovern, the Theatre Director at Harefield, admitted that Amrani was ‘considered very important to the Trust.’
He added: ‘The caseload he put through and the number of patients he operated on exceeded his colleagues by a country mile.
‘Every case we do is money for the Trust, we are penalised if we don’t get cases done. He was also very active privately and that also brings in a huge amount of money to the Trust.’
Amrani told the court that the rape complaint was ‘pure fantasy’ and that hospital records suggest it never happened.
He also claimed that he would have been wearing his suit in his office rather than scrubs because it was on a different floor of the hospital to the operating theatres.
Amrani said: ‘I have said it before and I will say it again, this is pure fantasy.’
He also rejected the other allegations.