LONDON (AP) — A prominent breast surgeon whose victims accused him of playing God with their lives faces a life sentence after a jury convicted him Friday of carrying out unnecessary operations that maimed some of his victims for life.
The Nottingham Crown Court jury found Ian Paterson guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and three counts of unlawful wounding. Prosecutors say the 59-year-old doctor lied to patients or exaggerated their risk of cancer to persuade them to have surgery.
"Of the 11 victims he was charged with in relation to this case, none had breast cancer, and yet he led them to believe they were at risk. This was cruel and unnecessarily led to many people suffering and living in fear," West Midlands police Superintendent Mark Payne said. "Paterson was a controlling bully, who played God with people's lives so he could live a luxurious lifestyle."
Paterson owned a luxury home in Birmingham as well as properties in Cardiff, Manchester and the United States, West Midlands police said.
Hundreds of Paterson's patients were recalled in 2012 after concerns about unnecessary or incomplete operations. Nine women and one man testified about the procedures during his trial, which dealt with surgeries between 1997 and 2011.
One patient, Frances Perks, who underwent an unnecessary mastectomy, hopes he "rots in hell."
"''I think he's a psychopath," she said. "Why would anyone in their right mind do operations to people knowing that they didn't need them?"
Another victim, Carole Johnson, who had six surgeries in seven years, said he manipulated his patients into trusting him.
"I, for one, trusted him with my life," she said after the verdicts. "To realize that I was betrayed makes me question my own judgment and I feel like I cannot trust any doctor."
Emma Doughty, a specialist medical lawyer with law firm Slater and Gordon who represents dozens of Paterson's victims, said many are relieved justice has been done.
"Paterson's barbarous acts of cruelty have hugely impacted many hundreds of people," she said. "I now hope they can start to rebuild and move on with their lives."
Paterson was granted bail until his sentencing hearing scheduled for May.