December 2018

Paedophile doctor, 78, ‘blindfolded patients as young as 12 “to help them relax” then sexually assaulted them

A doctor blindfolded patients before sexually assaulting them during a decade-long campaign of abuse, a court has heard.

Dr John Sivaguru Narendran, 78, allegedly targeted vulnerable, young patients who were referred to him for hospital treatment.

The orthopaedic specialist would force them to wear a blindfold and even tied one patient to the bed while he carried out his attack, it was claimed.

A court heard Narendran went on to work at another hospital where in 1996 he was convicted and jailed for 21 months for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy.

Yesterday, Narendran went on trial charged with 14 historical sexual offences on four teenage boys between 1983 and 1996.

Hugh French, prosecuting, told Brighton Crown Court that at the time of the alleged offences, Narendran was a ‘respected’ doctor working at two Sussex hospitals.

He said: ‘Working as a doctor he was in a position of trust but he systematically abused young boys who were in his care.’

Mr French said four complainants had come forward independently of one another claiming they had been abused by the doctor while he was working at Eastbourne General District Hospital or the Horder Centre in Crowborough.

The court heard Sri-Lankan born Narendran was known as ‘Dr John’ and would befriend patients referred to him for treatment.

In a video interview played to court, one patient, who cannot be named, said he saw the orthopaedic doctor for a knee injury when he was around 12 years old in 1985.

He said: ‘He was very friendly. He seemed sympathetic. He was a friendly guy.’

He told the court after the consultation Narendran offered to play squash with him to help with his rehabilitation and the offer was accepted by his parents.

He said the doctor picked him up in his red Ford Sierra and took him to the hospital social club which had sports facilities.

But the complainant said things began to escalate on a subsequent appointment when the doctor took him to a hospital apartment.

He said he was given Bacardi and coke to drink and the doctor said he could help him improve his science, handing him a book on anatomy which he would then instruct him on.

The alleged victim said: ‘It is was something I was interested in back then. He gave me biology lessons.’

He said: ‘The lessons changed from being out of a book to being practical. He said it would improve my life. He said: ‘Boys your age don’t know about your bodies, but people his age could show me.’

During one study session he told how he was asked to lie on a bed and was then blindfolded with a yellow scarf with the doctor explaining it would help him to relax.

He said the doctor then pulled down his trousers and sexually assaulted him. On another occasion the alleged victim said the doctor tied him to the bed.

He claimed the assaults happened on a weekly basis for about a year and ended when Narendran told him to turn over and tried to rape him, causing an injury.

‘My parents thought he was a very nice bloke going out of his way to help their son.’

The court was told he only reported the assaults after watching a TV documentary in April 2016 on the Jimmy Savile case.

A second man, who also cannot be named, told police that when he was 14 years old he was referred to the doctor after suffering an ear infection.

After the first appointment he was allegedly invited back to the doctor’s flat at the Horder Centre. He was also asked to put on a blindfold before being sexually assaulted, it was claimed. 

The abuse allegedly continued for three or four months until he realised it was wrong and stopped seeing the doctor.

A third complainant said his mother made an appointment for him to see the doctor at the Horder Centre between 1994 and 1995 when he was 15.

He said he was sexually abused over a period of four to six months on more than a dozen occasions.

The jury was told the abuse stopped after the boy’s mother stopped him visiting after it emerged the doctor was plying the teenager with alcohol and cigarettes.

The fourth complainant met Narendran when his mother was a patient at Eastbourne General between 1995 and 1996, and the doctor suggested they should meet up for a game of squash.

However, he later told police he had been sexually assaulted in the changing room and in the swimming pool.

The case continues.