Hypnotist put hand up skirt of fear-of-flying patient during session in Edinburgh, court told

An aristocrat told a court she came round from a fear-of-flying hypnosis session to discover the therapist’s hand up her skirt at the top of her thigh.

A general view of Perth Sheriff Court.

The woman said she was shocked and embarrassed and immediately slapped Michael Walsh and pushed him away at the end of the session in her home.

She told Perth Sheriff Court it was her second session with Walsh and that the first had ended with him making an off-colour remark about her looking as if she had had an orgasm.

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“I was hypnotized,” she told a trial. “I don’t know how to describe being hypnotized. They bring you out of it gradually. There was counting down and you gradually wake up.

“He was right next to me with his hand up my skirt, on my inner thigh, and I don’t know how long it had been there. I have no idea. It was right at the top.

“I was so shocked. I can’t remember the exact position he was in. I was so shocked I slapped him away. I was wearing a black Hobbs skirt, which was knee length.

“He didn’t apologise or give an explanation. It was extraordinary. He acted like nothing had happened. I was shocked and embarrassed. I didn’t know what to say.

“I was so taken aback. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. I felt he was in a position of trust.”

She said she told her friend and husband but did not know whether to report it or not at the time. She said the police approached her several years later to quiz her about the incident.

When it was put to her by Walsh’s solicitor Rosemary Scott that she had fabricated the incident, she replied: “Do you think in my professional and personal life I would jeopardise my reputation by lying to the court?”

She explained that she had first had hypnotherapy to conquer her fear-of-flying in a session on “a big leather sofa” at Walsh’s home and office in Perthshire.

She said: “I think I went under very, very quickly. It was my understanding he would say certain things and that would cure me of my fear of flying.

“He spoke in a hypnotic manner. I did go to sleep or fall into a hypnotic trance. When I was brought round he was slightly odd, but said I would need another session to make sure the fear of flying went.

“I was very flushed and he made some comment that it looked like I’d had an orgasm. It felt very odd but I laughed it off. I found the whole thing very embarrassing.”

The trial had previously heard from an international property agent that the “powerful and charismatic” hypnotist sexually assaulted her while she was a pupil at a Scottish private school.

The 28-year-old woman flew in from the Middle East to give evidence in the trial of alternative medicine practitioner Walsh, 70.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had been groped by Walsh at his practice at Greengairs Farm, Blairgowrie, more than a decade ago.

She said she regularly attended married Walsh’s home-based clinic and was allowed to stay overnight on several occasions as she continued to receive hypnotherapy.

“Mike had given me alcohol earlier in the day and told me that later that night we were likely to have sex,” she said. “I’m not making this up. I felt very guilty, ashamed.

“It took a while for me to work out what went on. It take a while to realise what had been happening. I don’t think many totally balanced 14-year-olds get sent to therapists.

“Now I’ve got a great job, I’m engaged and I live a truthful life. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t telling the truth. I very much know the difference and that’s why I’m here today.”

Walsh, George Street, Blairgowrie, denies sexually assaulting a woman at Great Stuart Street, Edinburgh, between 1 November 2001 and 30 November 2003.

That charge alleges that “whilst in the course of administering hypnotherapy” he sexually assaulted her by placing his hand up her skirt and touching her inner thigh.

The second charge alleges that Walsh indecently assaulted the schoolgirl at his practice in Greengairs Farm, Blairgowrie, on a number of occasions between 1 September 2005 and 30 September 2006.

It is alleged that “whilst administering hypnotherapy to her” he asked her to sit on his knee, cuddled and kissed her, and made sexualised remarks to her.

The trial before Sheriff Gillian Wade continues.

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