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Former Sussex doctor given life sentence for series of sex offences

Photo of Robert Cameron Wells from Sussex Police

A former doctor has been sentenced to life imprisonment for a series of sexual offences against five young people in Brighton, West Sussex, Hampshire and the West Midlands between 19 and 25 years ago.

Robert Cameron Wells, 69, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 17 years, at Hove Crown Court on Monday 6 September.

He had been convicted in July of two counts of indecency with a boy aged eight, and attempting to possess an indecent image of a child, all in West Sussex in 1998.

He had previously pleaded guilty to 16 other offences:
- One offence of indecent assault on a 15-year-old girl in West Sussex in 1998, while supposedly conducting a 'pre-abortion' examination of her at his surgery in Portslade:
- One offence of indecent assault on a woman known to him, aged 18 in 2002 in Coventry;
- Two offences of rape, and seven offences of indecent assault on a girl aged nine in 2001, one in the West Midlands, the rest in Brighton, and four offences of taking an indecent photograph of a child, all against the same girl, one in the West Midlands, the others in the Brighton area
- One offence of indecent assault on a woman aged 18 in Southampton in 2002. He had already been convicted of sexual offences against her in 2004 in Hampshire, but the Sussex Police investigation uncovered new video evidence of him assaulting her, accessible because of new technical developments since then.

All the offences involved evidence that Wells used drugs to help ensure compliance in his victims.

Wells was sentenced at the same court on 6 September.

In relation to the three offences to which he had pleaded not guilty the court heard that that Wells drugged the boy at a birthday party, took him to another location and forced him to abuse a girl as she appeared sedated on a bed.

The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit.

Wells was already serving two sentences for sexual offences against other young people in Hampshire and South Wales as a result of separate investigations by those police forces.

Wells was a GP in Brighton and Hove until his arrest in 2003 and subsequent conviction and sentencing in 2004 to 15 years for sexual offences against young girls in Hampshire. He was struck off as a doctor after that case.

In April 2017 at Cardiff Crown Court he was sentenced to seven years for four indecent assaults against three young girls.

In sentencing Wells on 6 September, Judge David Rennie called him a monster and said; "“You turned out to be the stuff of and the creator of nightmares... You have done incalculable harm to a lot of people who trusted you, and your abuse went on for years.

“What you chose to do to these survivors shows you have not the slightest concern for other people or the harm that you inflicted when you decided to carry out these crimes. Lives have been devastated. Your perverted sexual appetite appears to know no bounds."

Detective Constable Owen Watkins of Sussex Police said; "Wells was clearly a systematic and serial sexual abuser of young people, using his charm and air of professional distinction to lure them into a sense of false security, for his own gratification.

"Only one of the victims was abused by Wells acting in his official capacity as a doctor, but the others came to know him, whether through family or work, because of his role and were clearly influenced by his status.

"These convictions, and his previous convictions, show how his appalling record goes over many years and it is reassuring for his victims, and for the wider community to know that he is going to be in no position to continue preying upon innocent people for many years to come.

"His victims in this case have given full support to the investigation. One of them, now in his thirties, gave evidence in court, and the others were ready to do so. We admire the strength and bravery shown by all of them, which was so crucial in ensuring that justice was done.

"We are also grateful to our colleagues in the Hampshire Constabulary for the assistance they have given us in this complex investigation.

For information on how to report sexual offending and the support that is available, see the Sussex Police website

Police emphasise that there are no current or recent safeguarding issues or concerns for youth or wider community safety in relation to this investigation.

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