Pioneering heart surgeon denies rape and sexual assault at hospital

Martin Evans
Mohamed Amrani is standing trial at the Old Bailey - Ed Willcox

An internationally respected heart surgeon raped and sexually assaulted women in his workplace confident they would not complain because of his renown, a court has heard.

Mohamed Amrani, who was based at the Harefield Hospital in Middlesex, is credited with saving hundreds of lives through his pioneering work, including carrying out the world's first double heart valve replacement surgery.

But the 53-year-old is accused of using his powerful status and reputation to bully women into having sex with him while groping and touching others.

On one occasion he allegedly raped a woman in his office at the hospital, while another time he grabbed a woman's breasts and on a further occasion patted a woman on the bottom.

He is said to have carried out the attacks against five women between 2001 and 2014, believing he was too powerful to be challenged.

Mr Amrani has performed a string of life saving operations around the world and in 2007 hit the headlines when he performed the UK's first double heart valve replacement using keyhole surgery.

Three years earlier he led a team that carried out the first heart bypass operations on patients who were awake and he was also part of the team that conducted the first double lung transplant from a donor whose heart had already stopped.

Mohamed Amrani has denied all the charges Credit: Ed Willcox

But opening the case against him at the Old Bailey, Peter Clement, prosecuting, said Mr Amrani's professional reputation hid a darker side to his character.

He said: "Mohamed Amrani is a leading heart and transplant surgeon of well-deserved renown. Of that, there is no doubt.

"He held for many years the post of chief surgeon at the specialist Harefield Hospital in Middlesex conducting numerous intricate, delicate and undoubtedly life-saving operations, a great many being heart transplant operations."

He went on: "His position conferred a high degree of authority, power and trust. He breached all three for his own sexual gratification confident that those whom he assaulted would not dare make a formal complaint. He was right in that assumption but only for a period of time."

Mr Clement said Mr Amrani's behaviour went far further than just "banter in the workplace", saying it constituted "overt sexualised behaviour" that descended to assaults.

The prosecutor added: "It was, suggest the prosecution, sexual bullying of a high order by a man confident that his seniority would ensure his targets' silence."

The trial is taking place at the Old Bailey

Giving evidence, one alleged victim said she was first attacked between 2001 and 2002.

She told the Old Bailey: "He just reached out and grabbed my breasts. I was just shocked. I just slapped him away, waved my arms around. There was plenty of room to get past him. I basically legged it out the room."

Asked if she had made a formal complaint, she said: "No. I didn't feel it would ever be taken very seriously. The surgeons are all powerful. I felt it wasn't really worth my time."

The court heard that there was a common theme with the alleged attacks in that none of the women had wanted to take matters further at the time.

But the consultant surgeon was eventually arrested in 2015 when one alleged victim made a formal complaint and other women then came forward.

Mr Amrani denies six counts of indecent assault, two counts of assault by penetration, one count of rape, and two counts of sexual assault.


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