Jail term of ‘monster’ breast surgeon Ian Paterson extended

Glasgow-born surgeon Ian Paterson had five years added to his sentence for his crimes last week. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Glasgow-born surgeon Ian Paterson had five years added to his sentence for his crimes last week. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
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Long-suffering victims left scarred and disfigured by a “monster” breast surgeon have spoken of their relief at a court ruling extending his jail term.

Ian Paterson was initially handed a 15-year prison sentence following a lengthy trial at Nottingham Crown Court in May.

But on Thursday, the Court of Appeal ruled that sentence was unduly lenient and increased the tariff to 20 years in prison.

Reacting to the news at home in Birmingham, former patient Debbie Douglas said the extension “sends the right message”, but the fight for all Paterson’s victims continued.

Hearing the announcement, she embraced another of the surgeon’s former patients Tracey Smith and they wept as the ruling was made.

Mrs Douglas had kept a journal throughout her treatment, which she admits is now almost too painful to re-read.

In a drawer in the lounger, she also had the memorial cards from the funerals of the many women treated by Paterson who she said had since died of cancer.

The mother-of-three underwent an entirely unnecessary cleavage-sparing mastectomy at Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull, which left her in “horrendous” pain.

She was left with both physical and mental scarring from a surgeon she had trusted to tell her the truth about her diagnosis, only to discover after a patient recall that Paterson had fed her a pack of lies.

Mrs Douglas, from Hall Green, said: “When he got 15 years, I was just happy to see him put away, and that he was off the streets.

“But afterwards, we thought it was just too lenient for what he had done.

“Today, I feel some relief, but I feel like now we owe it to the other victims to get a full public inquiry.”

During the Court of Appeal hearing, Paterson, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester, at one point shook his head.

Miss Smith, 49, said it was it was typical of “the showman, Ian Paterson” who had never displayed a shred of remorse throughout his patients’ ordeal.

The mother-of-one, also from Birmingham, said: “He’s still shaking his head - he shook his head for eight weeks in the trial and then again in the Court of Appeal.

“We went to trial to see him show even a little bit of remorse, but there was nothing.

“He’s shown again he’s not changed.”

Welcoming the sentence, she said: “I have to accept that he didn’t get a life sentence, although he gave us a life sentence, he gave the families of the ladies who lost their lives a life sentence.

“Now we have to continue with fighting for the full public inquiry.”

Mrs Douglas said there were still many questions to be answered about a system which, despite warnings to his bosses, allowed Paterson to keep operating.

A recall of NHS patients had already started in 2009, added Miss Smith, but she had her operation under private firm Spire in 2010.

Mrs Douglas said: “What checks were in place?

“There were audits that should have been taking place, multi-disciplinary team meetings that needed to take place.

“All of those systems failed.

“The upper management, whom he was reported to, failed to act. That’s the travesty, they didn’t protect any of the patients.

“They got the numbers down in the NHS and in the private sector, they made a lot of money.

She added: “All of those people, making money out of our misery.”

Mrs Douglas said she would not be able to erase the terrible memory of telling her children she had cancer, which was had been another of Paterson’s deceits.

She added: “Knowing I went through all that, and have all the scars - for nothing - is one of the worst things.”

The 58-year-old said the fight would go on for justice for all those affected as she and others campaign for a full public inquiry into what went wrong.

Separately, a civil case is being heard in Birmingham at the end of October for several of Paterson’s private patients.