Police blunders that left boys at mercy of paedophile doctor: Consultant may have abused up to 800 children but despite warnings, it took officers 14 months to act
- Paedophile Myles Bradbury, 41, jailed for 22 years for ‘grotesque’ abuse
- Bradbury exploited his job as a respected paediatrician to target boys
- Would abuse them behind screens, sometimes with their parents in room
- Married father-of-one took 170,000 images of his victims using spy pens
- UK investigators told by police in Canada that he was buying child porn
- But British officers failed to act for 14 months, saying he was ‘low risk’
The families of gravely ill young boys molested by a hospital consultant last night accused police of failing to own up to appalling mistakes which allowed him to carry out his sick crimes.
Paedophile Myles Bradbury, 41, was jailed for 22 years for the ‘gross and grotesque’ abuse of 18 vulnerable children he was supposed to be caring for.
Bradbury exploited his job as a respected paediatrician to target boys – all of whom had cancer or blood disorders – and would abuse them behind screens, sometimes with their parents in the room.
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Jailed: Paedophile children’s doctor Myles Bradbury (left, outside court; and right, in his police mugshot), who abused 18 sick boys in his care, was sent to prison for 22 years yesterday
He took 170,000 images of his victims using spy pens.
But despite being told by police in Canada that Bradbury was buying child porn on the internet, investigators in the UK failed to act for 14 months, classifying him as ‘low risk’.
Incredibly, while the National Crime Agency says it has carried out a full review into its errors, it has refused to publish it.
The NCA’s refusal – on the grounds the report is ‘confidential’ – was branded ‘unacceptable’ by victims and MPs, who said the police had failed to ‘do their job’.
Gadget: A spy pen used by Bradbury to film some of his victims as he carried out examinations on them
Hidden: Bradbury’s secret spy cameras were hidden in pens the doctor kept in his coat pocket
The parent of one victim said: ‘They should make the findings public so we can make sure the same mistakes are never made again.’
Last night, it emerged that:
‘I’D LIKE TO SEE MYLES BRADBURY AND ASK HIM WHY HE DID WHAT HE DID TO ME’: VICTIM’S DESPAIR
Cambridge Crown Court was told that many of Bradbury’s victims would be isolated from their parents and asked to remove their clothes before the doctor would grope their genitals.
The depth of the examinations were often increased to meet Bradbury’s sexual needs, not any medical requirement, the court heard.
One said in a statement read to the court: ‘I am now anxious to go to the doctor because I don’t know who I should trust.
‘I have haemophilia and a pain in my side so I know I should go but I feel disgusted and weird. I didn’t think it would happen to me and I feel angry every time I think about it but also relieved it wasn’t just me but we shouldn’t have to go through it.’
Another said he had regular nightmares, felt stressed and lacked confidence. ‘I’d like to see Myles Bradbury and ask him why he did what he did to me,’ he added.
- Bradbury could face another prosecution as victims come forward
- Police have written to at least 800 families to warn them their sons could have been harmed
- Some of the desperately ill children abused by Bradbury died without their parents ever finding out what he had done
- The police agency initially charged with investigating Bradbury ‘did not have enough staff’ to cope when it was handed the names of thousands of potential paedophiles from officers in Canada
- Of 2,000-plus names the agency was given, only ten have been prosecuted, leading to fears more have been allowed to carry out abuse.
Last night Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert said some of Bradbury’s ‘appalling and disturbing’ crimes could have been avoided ‘if our national police had done their job’.
Bradbury was among 2,345 British paedophiles, including teachers, who were identified by Canadian police as potential offenders.
But while their names were passed on to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, no action was taken for months.
Sentencing: Judge Gareth Hawkesworth (pictured right in this court sketch) described Bradbury (left) as ‘manipulative’ and said his actions had undermined the public’s trust in the ‘overstretched health service’
He was arrested in November last year only after the grandmother of a victim complained to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Last night the officer in charge of the Toronto child exploitation team accused CEOP of ‘dropping the ball’.
Detective Sergeant Kim Gross told the BBC: ‘If I had failed that badly, I would walk away from work and have someone replace me.’
A simple checklist would have allowed the agency to prioritise the suspects who had the most access to children and posed the greatest risk, she added.
Arrival: Bradbury arrived at court yesterday in a prison van. He can be seen crouching behind the glass panel
Doctor: Bradbury, from Herringswell, Suffolk, carried out medical examinations on boys at Addenbrooke’s Hospital ‘purely for his own sexual gratification’, the court heard
‘I HAVE NEVER COME ACROSS SUCH A GROTESQUE BETRAYAL OF YOUR HIPPOCRATIC OATH’: JUDGE GARETH HAWKESWORTH
Damning: Judge Gareth Hawkesworth (pictured) said Bradbury’s criminality was ‘a gross and grotesque breach’ of the Hippocratic Oath
Judge Gareth Hawkesworth said Myles Bradbury’s sentence would be reduced because of his early guilty pleas although ‘some might observe’ that the overwhelming evidence against him meant he had little choice but to admit the offences.
Describing Bradbury as ‘manipulative”, he added: ‘For a doctor to attack children in this way is one of the worst forms of sexual abuse imaginable even if it does not involve physical violence which goes beyond the abuse itself or penetrative activity.’
The judge continued: ‘These boys were all vulnerable and gravely ill.
‘In all my years on the bench, I have never come across a more culpable and grave course of sexual criminality which has involved such a gross and grotesque breach and betrayal of your Hippocratic Oath and trust reposed in you by your patients, their families and colleagues.
‘There are almost too many aggravating factors to list in your prolonged carefully, planned and cruel abuse.
‘It is implicit in what you did for your own sexual gratification that you were targeting the most vulnerable, sick children.
‘At the top of this comes the breach of trust.
‘Your colleagues remain guilt ridden at having been unable to detect your offending earlier and having been successfully manipulated by you into ignorance.
‘Your actions have undermined public trust in an already overstretched health service and have caused enormous expense and upheaval in the internal inquiries that inevitably followed your suspension from practice.
‘All this almost pales into insignificance set against the trauma, fear and distress you have caused to your victims and their families – considerable psychological harm, I have no doubt – which I suspect will linger with them for the rest of their lives.
‘It is implicit in what you did for your own sexual gratification that you were targeting even the most vulnerable – sick children and what you did to them require careful and significant planning.
‘You bought a camera pen so you could record things without your victims noticing and when the balloon went up you disposed of the hard drive of your laptop, onto which, I infer, many images had been recorded.’
Judge Hawkesworth, who placed Bradbury on the sex offenders register for life and making him subject to a sexual offences prevention order, added that the doctor’s recognition of his deviancy meant the risk he posed to children could be managed.
The judge added: ‘Nobody will ever know the precise extent of your activities, thus increasing the agony of those you pretended to treat and their families particularly of deceased children in not knowing whether they too had been abused in this way.’
Bradbury – who is married with a baby daughter – ‘groomed’ patients, families and colleagues into letting him carry out intimate examinations without other adults present, against hospital procedures.
Bleak future: Bradbury was sacked from his job earlier this year and will never work as a doctor again, the court heard
Some victims were molested as their parents sat on the other side of a curtain in his consulting room, Cambridge Crown Court heard.
Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told Bradbury: ‘I have never come across a more culpable or grave course of sexual criminality which has involved such a gross and grotesque breach and betrayal of your Hippocratic Oath and trust reposed in you.
‘There are almost too many aggravating features to enumerate in this prolonged, cruel and persistent campaign of abuse.’
The ‘trauma, fear and distress’ caused ‘considerable psychological harm’ to victims that would ‘linger with them for the rest of their lives’.
Bradbury showed no emotion as he was led away from the dock.
The NCA – which took over CEOP last year – admits that steps ‘which should have been completed at the time did not take place’.
But its decision to keep its report secret has infuriated families. The mother of a ten-year-old who was treated by Bradbury for leukaemia said: ‘I am especially angry with the NCA.
‘My mum has contacted them but had no response. To think they made that much of an error and didn’t think it important to write back. It’s just a statistic for them.’
The disgraced doctor abused boys aged between ten and 16 between 2009 and 2014. Many were ordered to arouse themselves in front of him so that he could measure ‘pubertal development’.
A disc with 16,000 illegal images – the purchase of which alerted police in Toronto – was also found.
Bradbury lived with his wife and daughter in Herringswell, Suffolk, but moved to a secret address for his safety while on bail.
He admitted 25 charges in total and denied three counts of sexual assault with a child which were left on file.
Bradbury, whose lawyer said he ‘repressed’ homosexual feelings during puberty, will serve at least half his sentence before being considered for parole.
An NCA spokesman said: ‘The independent review is a confidential document but we have taken action based on its recommendations.’
‘HUNDREDS OF PAEDEOPHILES WILL ESCAPE JUSTICE’: EXPLOSION IN CASES
Hundreds of paedophiles may escape justice because Britain’s flagship crime agency is struggling to cope with an explosion in cases.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) was in the dock last night over its inexplicable failure to act on a dossier of 2,345 suspects named by colleagues in Canada.
One former senior officer broke ranks to claim the mistake was because of an uncompromising workload of child sex cases which continues to grow.
Retired Det Sgt Katy Milne said the incendiary information should have been dealt with sooner and suggested other cases may remain on the shelf.
‘But if you have only so many people, there are only so many operations you can deal with at once,’ she told ITV News.
Her comments came as it emerged only ten people have been prosecuted as a result of the names passed on by Canadian police.
The NCA sat on the names of the 2,000-plus suspects for at least 14 months as it took over responsibility for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
The delay meant by the time local forces got involved, magistrates refused to grant search warrants and some of the suspects had even died. The blunder crowns a faltering start for the much-hyped agency which promised it would strike fear into the hearts of criminals.
Two months ago, Director General Keith Bristol said he was ‘uncomfortable’ to admit investigators simply cannot cope with the flood of men viewing vile images.
Agony of victims who may never recover
The appalling psychological toll that Myles Bradbury’s crimes had on his victims and their families becomes clear as they speak of their devastation.
Parents say their children have become withdrawn, are wracked with self-doubt, suffer nightmares, wet their beds and live in fear they will become paedophiles.
The parents, meanwhile, are filled with guilt that they failed to stop the friendly consultant – nicknamed ‘Dr Who’ because of his similarity to actor David Tennant.
Questions: Mother Claire Yeoman, who fears she will never find out if her son was a victim
Mother who will never know
Claire Yeoman’s son, Declan, died in 2012 after battling leukaemia for 18 months and she fears she will never find out if he was a victim.
The three-year-old spent most of his illness as an in-patient at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and was seen by Bradbury on a daily basis.
‘It made me feel physically ill,’ she said. ‘Obviously you think, “Was your child involved? Was there anything you missed?” So you go through every single day of his treatment and basically relive the whole memory.’
Miss Yeoman, 39, a full-time mother from Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, added: ‘We’ll never know the full truth. There are missing pieces of the puzzle because we don’t have his computer or the hard drive.’
The leukaemia patient
The family of a ten-year-old patient have decided to move more than 200 miles from Cambridge to try to rebuild their lives.
The boy, who was diagnosed with leukaemia and is expected to go into remission this month after chemotherapy, said the pervert abused him from January 2012 to November last year. His mother said he had been struggling to sleep as he tried to come to terms with the abuse.
She added: ‘Bradbury has ruined our lives. It’s sad that we’re having to leave our home because all our family are here, but we’re moving as far away as we can.
‘I trusted him implicitly. He was like a god who was going to make my son better. He betrayed us all.
‘I had no reason to suspect what was going on. He would do the “examination” with the curtains closed and I’d be right on the other side. It made me feel sick to think I had no idea what he was doing.’
Her son said: ‘I feel sad and cross now after finding out what Myles did. I thought he was a normal doctor and I thought he was clever and nice and would help me. I want to be a consultant when I’m older but I want to fix people and not hurt them. I want to be a good doctor.’
Leukaemia victim: Declan Yeoman, who spent most of his illness as an in-patient at Addenbrooke’s
Boy who wasn’t told he had the all-clear
One teenager was molested by Bradbury after the doctor failed to inform him blood tests had shown he wasn’t ill.
The formerly happy, confident teenager is now deeply traumatised.
His mother said: ‘My son was a happy, confident boy, hanging out with mates and girls. Now he has stopped going out and begun sleeping in my bedroom. He constantly seeks reassurance that he is not gay and that he is not going to become a paedophile.’
The woman, whose son is now 16, said she was initially ‘overjoyed’ that the doctor had offered to increase the number of appointments.
‘It turned out we were making a bargain with the devil,’ she added.
‘When I took my son to his last appointment, Bradbury said “He’s a big boy now, he doesn’t need you with him”. He pulled a face as if to say “Don’t leave me on my own”. I now know why.’
Two brothers with a rare blood disorder were abused by Bradbury.
Their father said: ‘We trusted this guy. When we met him he really did seem to have a connection with the children.
‘Normally they would get joint and muscle problems so they would check their movement – doctors and nurses. But Myles started checking on his own and getting them to strip off totally naked. He was checking private areas – which he shouldn’t have been checking – and touching them. The boys were quiet about it. Whether they were shell-shocked or embarrassed or thought it was normal, I don’t know.
‘They say they’re handling it but as time goes on you can see they’re not because they’re talking about it a lot. The younger one is wetting the bed. It’s preying on their minds.’
Boy who became paranoid
One victim was described as an active child who was passionate about skateboarding before he met Bradbury.
‘Since then he has changed a lot,’ said his mother. ‘He has no appetite any more. He stays in bed and has night terrors. He is paranoid about his private parts. The stress has left him with a mouth full of ulcers.
‘He has changed from the lively boy he once was to a withdrawn boy.’
A guilt-ridden father
One parent said his son suffered violent mood swings because of the abuse and he felt terrible guilt about allowing him to go into the consulting room alone.
He said: ‘Looking back there were times when he said, “I don’t want to go”. I would persuade him that he had to.’
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: HOW BLUNDERS BY BRITISH AUTHORITIES ALLOWED PREDATOR DOCTOR TO CONTINUE OFFENDING
Mistakes by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) meant Bradbury was left free for 16 months to wage his campaign of abuse.
The doctor bought a DVD in 2005 from Azov Films in Canada. The company advertised on its website ‘just legal’ and ‘naturist’ films but many were clearly illegal – and were bought by paedophiles in over 50 countries around the world.
The site was finally closed down by Toronto police in the summer of 2012 and concerned officers in Canada soon dispatched the names of its customers to authorities in other countries in an operation called Project Spade.
CEOP was handed a list of 2,235 suspected British paedophiles in July 2012 by Canadian police – but did nothing for months.
Canadian police told British authorities about suspected paedophiles including Bradbury as part of a worldwide operation called Project Spade
It was only when the centre was absorbed by the National Crime Agency last November that Bradbury’s name was passed to Suffolk police and his home was raided.
In the intervening time he had continued his abuse and made his trip to the African orphanage.
Among the other suspects named on the list handed over by Canadian authorities was that of teacher Martin Goldberg, who was found dead a day after police first contacted him.
Following the 46-year-old’s death, a search of his house in Shoeburyness, Essex was conducted and 7,257 indecent images of children that he had downloaded from the internet were found.
Three police forces in Britain – Essex, North Yorkshire and North Wales – are under investigation for allegedly failing to act on the child porn intelligence, it emerged earlier this month.
The respectable family man who volunteered at an African orphanage… but secretly targeted vulnerable children
On face value, Dr Myles Bradbury was a respectable professional and an active member of the community.
Living in the pretty and affluent village of Herringswell, Suffolk, the 41-year-old was married and his wife gave birth to their first child, a girl, during the course of the police investigation into his abuse.
He was a church-goer, played a role in the Scout movement and went on a church mission to an orphanage in Swaziland to help children with Aids as recently as 2012.
Respectable: Bradbury (left) was a church-goer, played a role in the Scout movement and went on a church mission to an orphanage in Swaziland to help children with Aids as recently as 2012
One neighbour said: ‘He seemed like somebody who wanted to do good. Everybody’s in complete shock because he seemed normal and nice.
‘We just feel for his wife who had no idea what was going on.’
Bradbury graduated from Medical School at the University of Birmingham in 1996. He held a number of roles before entering the General Medical Council’s specialist register in haematology in 2007.
His first consultancy was in paediatric haematology at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in 2007 but he moved to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge after a little more than a year.
He continued in that role until a complaint was made about possible abuse by the grandmother of a patient and he was suspended on November 28 2013 – exactly five years after he took up the post.
Hospital bosses have said the consultant paediatric haematologist deliberately targeted the most physically and emotionally vulnerable children in a manner which has fundamentally undermined trust in the medical profession.
Serious: A photo from a trip to Africa during which Bradbury was left alone with children
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Trust, which employed Bradbury, said his crimes have had a ‘profound and devastating’ impact on patients, their families and staff.
His abuse extended to deliberately misleading patients into thinking their conditions were more serious than they actually were in order to encourage them to attend more appointments than necessary, a statement from the Trust said.
And the trauma forced bereaved parents to relive the pain of losing a child after learning they had been abused.
‘For these parents and families, they cannot ask the painful questions open to others nor receive reassurance,’ a trust spokesman said.
Impression: One neighbour described Bradbury (pictured) as ‘someone who wanted to do good’
The hospital spokesman said the abuse has had a long-lasting impact.
He added: ‘Almost a year on, the effects of his cold and calculating actions continue to cause anguish and sadly, for many, may do so for years to come.
‘First, and most importantly, there is the effect of his abuse on the young male patients in his care.
‘We should remember that his patients were being treated for cancer and serious blood disorders, which is highly traumatic in itself, especially for children and adolescents.
‘He appears to focus his attention on the most physically and emotionally vulnerable children under his care.
‘It is clear that he betrayed the trust he had built up with these patients over months and years.
‘Many of these patients have lost faith in the medical profession and, for those facing ongoing treatment, are now understandably fearful of returning to hospital.’
He said parents had been persuaded to place their children in a vulnerable position, believing it was in their best interest.
‘This betrayal has shaken their trust in the medical profession at a time when they needed it most,’ the spokesman added.
The Crown Prosecution Service in the East of England said the offences were ‘one of the worst’ cases of a breach of trust it had ever prosecuted.
Michelle Brown, head of its rape and serious sexual offences unit, said: ‘This paedophile doctor took advantage of his young patients battling serious illness by systematically sexually abusing them. Such cruelty is unimaginable to most of us.
‘The sentence given to Myles Bradbury reflects the seriousness of what he did and the breach of trust involved. We hope that it gives some comfort to those affected to know that he has been held to account for his crimes.’
John Cameron, head of the NSPCC helpline, encouraged anybody affected by Bradbury’s crimes to seek help.
Since July, the charity’s counsellors have supported more than 54 parents and other members of the public who were concerned about the case.
He said: ‘At some of the lowest points in their lives, countless families placed their trust and hope in Bradbury. His sexual abuse and perverted voyeurism of extremely vulnerable children was a grotesque betrayal of that trust.’