The grandmother who brought paedophile doctor Myles Bradbury to justice when raising concerns over his conduct has backed Hudgell Solicitors in calling for the Government to order a ‘full public inquiry’ into how his abuse of seriously ill young boys went undetected for more than four years.
Bradbury, 41, exploited his job as a respected paediatrician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to target boys – all of whom had cancer or blood disorders.
He abused boys, aged between ten and 16, behind screens, often with their parents in the room, between 2009 and 2013.
The 62-year-old grandmother was the first to suspect any wrongdoing, and her instincts sparked investigations leading to Bradbury being jailed for 22 years last December.
Her family are now one of a number being represented by solicitor Renu Daly, of Hudgell Solicitors, who insists the hospital must now be held liable and placed under further scrutiny.
Calling for a public, independent inquiry, she says the full extent of Bradbury’s offending whilst working in the NHS must now be explored, questions asked as to whether all his potential victims have been contacted directly, and the failure of his employers to prevent his offending at an earlier date placed firmly in the spotlight.
Those calls have been backed by the grandmother, who told of her grandson’s abuse at the hands of Bradbury on ITV’s This Morning today.
She says there has been no information forthcoming from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since Bradbury was jailed about lessons learned.
“I was delighted when he was jailed for 22 years. There needs to be more heavy sentences in cases involving abuse of children as a clear message needs to be sent out that if you abuse children, you are going away for a long, long time,” said the grandmother, who has asked not to be named.
Miss Daly, who has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for Government to order the public inquiry, said:” In the context of recent scandals within the NHS and its track record of investigating itself, public confidence requires a full and independent public inquiry.
“The hospital let all the victims down by allowing Bradbury to be alone with children. How did this happen, why did it happen, why was it not questioned, and why wasn’t it stopped?
“How many families are still unaware their children may have been victims? How adequate were the child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures at Addenbrooke’s Hospital? These are all questions which are still to be answered.”
Like many of his young and victims, the woman’s grandson, who was in remission at the time after being diagnosed with leukaemia aged only two, was sexually assaulted by Bradbury when alone with him.
The family believed one-to-one time between Bradbury and the boy had been used to discuss his health, emotions and feelings, allowing him to speak freely without his relatives in the room.
However, it was in a conversation when travelling home from his appointment last November that the boy gave a frightening insight into what was really happening, and it was that conversation that finally ensured Bradbury was brought to justice.
“We always tried to lighten the mood in the car on the way home from the hospital,” said the 62-year-old grandmother of 10.
“Throughout his treatment, from being a little boy, he’d had to have his testicles examined as Leukemia cells can return and be found there, so to make it easier to talk about, and not to embarrass him, I used to make a bit of a joke about it and always asked if they’d been checked after every appointment he had.
“That’s when he said Bradbury had examined him when they were in the room alone together, and that he had also ‘checked his privates’. He had been in on his own with Bradbury before, but we were always under the impression they were only talking.
“We all immediately looked at one another in the car, and when we pushed him on what had happened a bit further he started to tell us more details that didn’t seem at all right.
“He said that he’d asked him to take his clothes off and checked his privates too. We got home and discussed it as a family and although it sounded wrong, we wondered whether there could have been genuine medical reasons for what had happened. We knew that at times he needed to have his testicles checked, and we even considered that Bradbury had needed to test semen for potential signs of leukaemia cells returning.
“The man was a trusted and much respected doctor. He had been so supportive and charming to our family. It was difficult to imagine he’d do anything other than act in a proper and appropriate manner.”
That evening the family debated whether or not to make a complaint about Bradbury’s actions.
“We all felt something was wrong, but we also recognised we had to be careful in how we handled it. We worried about how much trouble we could potentially cause for Bradbury if it turned out he had actually been carrying out genuine medical examinations,” said the grandmother.
“We slept on it but the next morning I woke up angry and knew I had to do something. I couldn’t get past the fact he had been making him take his clothes off, and the fact that we hadn’t been told.
“The important thing was that I believed my grandson. We have always been so close, so I can sense when something isn’t right.
“In the first few years after he was diagnosed with cancer, we spent our lives in hospital. He was very ill at times during chemotherapy, and I have seen him when he has been close to dying, three or four times.
“I have been with him when we have both been crying and he has been asking me if everything would be ok. He needed me and the rest of his family on those occasions, and he needed us to listen here. I knew he wouldn’t have mistaken a genuine examination for something not right, so I knew I had to act.
“Now, when I look back, I am so glad we listened to him. Not only for our family, but for the many other victims, and those who would no doubt have been victims of Bradbury in the future.”
Like many families, the grandmother says there has been plenty of regret since allowing the boy to be with the doctor alone.
But Bradbury was expert at grooming patients, families and colleagues into letting him carry out intimate examinations without other adults present, despite it being against hospital procedures.
Reflecting on her decision to call Addenbrooke’s Hospital in November of 2013, as a mother of three herself, the grandmother says she simply went with her instinct, and has encouraged others to do the same should they ever suspect anyone of abusing a child.
“This has changed us all,” she said.
“It’s changed how we view people as a family. It’s sad, but the lesson is to trust nobody. I wouldn’t trust anybody alone with a child anymore. Obviously we can now look back and question why we let him go in alone, but this man was so respected. It was unthinkable to believe he would do anyone any harm.
“Thinking back to the day I called the hospital, it was very difficult.
“I was careful not to make an allegation. I simply said I had serious concerns and asked to check that what my grandson had said had happened, and that it had been recorded in the notes for a genuine reason.
“I didn’t want to speak to somebody senior, as I thought they could have dismissed my concerns. I wanted to speak to somebody who I knew, and who knew I was a level-headed person and not somebody making wild accusations.
“Within days the hospital called us again to tell us he had been suspended from duty, and that there would be media stories in the next few days as the police were involved.”
Only then, when further questioned by his family, did the boy reveal he had been sexually assaulted on a number of occasions.
“It was only then did he say that he hadn’t wanted to go to his appointments. He’d wanted to tell us something but just couldn’t bring himself to do it,” she added.
“When we look back now, we can see how his behaviour changed over that year where he was seeing Bradbury. He went quiet, but would quickly get angry with family members. We thought it was perhaps to do with his hormones as he was getting older, but now we think perhaps he subconsciously felt let down by us, and he was hitting out at us in that way.
“He is a different boy now. Thankfully he has come through the worst and there are better times ahead, but he will be affected, and he will need counselling to cope with what has happened and learn to handle it.
“This man has done untold damage to children who have been through the most difficult times. I have been in the hospital and seen my own grandson, and other peoples’ children and grandchildren fighting for survival, and it is heart-breaking. You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy.
“To then subject these children to such abuse is despicable.”
Bradbury admitted 25 charges, related to 18 boys, and was told by Judge Gareth Hawkesworth that he had committed ‘one of the worst forms of sexual abuse imaginable’ given his position of trust.