Royal London Hospital neurosurgeon, 58, is struck off for child porn

Royal London Hospital neurosurgeon, 58, is struck off after he amassed hoard of child porn and animal abuse images including dogs, pigs and eels

  • Dr Richard Van Groningen, 58, collected the pornographic images for 15 years 
  • He also downloaded 1,480 child porn imagines including ones showing rape
  • Former neurosurgeon has now been struck off from the doctor’s register  

A former Royal London Hospital neurosurgeon has been struck off after he was caught with a pornographic library of people having sex with eels and children being raped. 

Dr Richard Van Groningen, 58, collected the bestiality images over 15 years and they also included sexual abuse of horses, pigs and dogs. 

He also secretly downloaded more than 1,480 pieces of child pornography including 114 Category A images, which featured children being raped.  

Police acting on intelligence connected to online abuse found the hoard after raiding Groningen’s home in Purleigh, Essex, in December 2018.

He has since resigned from his role at Barts Health NHS Trust and last year was given a suspended jail sentence when he admitted offences of possessing indecent images and videos of children plus possession of extreme pornographic images and videos which were grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.

Today it emerged Groningen, who had been practising medicine for 29 years, had his name erased from the doctor’s register following a disciplinary hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester.

Dr Richard Van Groningen (pictured), 58, collected the bestiality images over 15 years and they also included sexual abuse of horses, pigs and dogs

He had claimed he no sexual interest in the pictures and tried to have the hearing dealt with entirely in private – claiming the proceedings were causing him ‘harm’ and saying he was entitled to a ‘normal family life.’

The Manchester hearing was told Van Groningen, who qualified in Amsterdam in 1992, had been working in the NHS for over 25 years and spent the majority of his medical career at The Royal London.

He collected the squalid images on his home PC between September 2003 and December 2018. Police said searches for ‘toddler’, ‘pre-teen’ and ‘bestiality’ were found on multiple devices. Van Groningen initially made a ‘clumsy’ attempt to conceal the hard drive but it was confiscated by police and found to have pictures of girls as young as three.

In total officers recovered 114 Category A images and 62 Category A videos, 150 Category B images and five Category B videos, 1149 Category C images and two Category C videos. 

Some of the pictures showed the children being raped whilst others showed images of sex with animals and sadism.

Extreme pornography material was also found on Van Groningen’s iPhone and on four DVDs, which were a part of a batch containing a large volume of legal pornography. 

There were 27 images and 217 videos depicting intercourse with live animals, referred to as horses, dogs, pigs and eels.  

In October last year at Chelmsford Crown Court Van Groningen was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for two years and was also ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work. He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years.

A general view of The Royal London Hospital, from which Van Groningen resigned when the images were discovered and has been suspended from practice (file photo)

Groningen did not attend May’s disciplinary hearing but asked the tribunal to hold it behind closed doors.

He claimed: ‘Justice has been served already for which I now need to live with the consequences for the rest of my life. I hope that the welfare and rights for an individual doctor to have some normal family life will be still taken into any consideration.’

But Sarah Barlow lawyer for the General Medical Council said: ‘In committing a serious criminal offence over a prolonged period of time Dr Van Groningen had breached fundamental tenets of the medical profession such as maintaining trust, acting with integrity and most importantly within the law. 

‘Given the nature of the offence and Dr Van Groningen’s attitude over the years, there would be in fact a risk of repetition of this offending.’ 

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service chairman Patrick Cox said: ‘Dr Van Groningen had worked for a considerable amount of time without any clinical concerns and further, the sentencing judge at his crown court case said he had ”worked in a very difficult job, functioning at a very high level, helping very vulnerable people” during his medical career.

Today it emerged Groningen, who had been practising medicine for 29 years, had his name erased from the doctor’s register following a disciplinary hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester (file photo)

‘But these were particularly serious offences. The images were possessed over a long period of time and there was deliberate searching for them. Dr Van Groningen suggested to the author of a Pre-Sentence Report that he had no sexual interest in these images but this was something with the sentencing Judge described as ”intellectually laughable”.

‘When Dr Van Groningen applied for a private hearing in respect of this matter, there was reference to the harm caused to him as a result of his conviction but no reference to the harm caused by the offending.’

In a statement Alistair Chesser, group chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: ‘We are deeply concerned that a former staff member was involved in such activity. We understand our doctors are trusted within our community and want to assure our patients that their safety is our number one priority.

‘We do everything we can to protect our patients including carrying out enhanced background checks on all clinical staff.’ 

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