Published: 12:00, 08 May 2014
A Dover doctor was caught rifling through a patient's bag... as she was treating her sick son at a Dover medical centre.
GP Nurpal Mittal is alleged to have stolen £130 in cash and the planted it in the toilets when the alarm was raised.
Then it is claimed the 33-year-old doctor called the patient and pleaded with her to drop the case, a jury at Canterbury Crown Court has heard.
Dr Mittal - who denies the theft - was on duty at the White Cliffs Medical Centre in June last year when Kelly Wissenden came for an appointment.
Dr Mittal, of St Andrews Garden, Shepherdswell is alleged to have told police that she had called the patient because he feared she was "cross with him".
Prosecutor Andrew Forsyth claimed that on June 19 last year Ms Wissenden had gone to the centre with her baby boy.
“He had been suffering from a stomach upset. Ms Wissenden was carrying £130 in a purse which she had withdrawn earlier that day intending to use it to pay for car repairs.”
The prosecutor said that while she was in the waiting room she “kept an eye on her purse” which had been placed at the bottom of a pushchair.
“At 10.45 am she was called to Dr Mittal’s room. She took the pushchair with her. The purse was in a change bag which was clipped to the pushchair handle.”
The prosecutor alleged that the child was required to provide a specimen and the mum was asked to go to a baby changing room across the corridor from the consulting room.
He claimed: “Ms Wissenden removed a pack of baby wipes and a clean nappy and walked to the changing room.
"The doctor followed and took the sample and walked back to the consulting room.
“She continued to change the nappy and returned without knocking.
"She later described seeing Dr Mittal fiddling round near the change bag and the buggy looking very flustered.
“She thought it strange at the time but didn’t say anything, “ he said.
It was then that the doctor is alleged to have given the mother the sample bottle and she noticed her purse was undone.
Mr Forsythe claimed: “The purse was the opposite way around from where she had left it, with the popper clasp facing upwards.
“She noticed Dr Mittal again appeared flustered and he told her: “I was looking for a tissue” – even though there were tissues on the counter.”
Outside the surgery Ms Wissenden checked her purse and discovered all the cash gone.
She returned and complained to receptionist Christine Button and the two alerted the doctor.
The prosecutor said: “Ms Button and Dr Mittal checked the floor area of the consulation room. Dr Mittal suggested Ms Button check the toilet and changing room area.
“She quickly checked the floor to no avail. Ms Wissenden was then taken to the Practice Manager’s Office.
“We suggest that the overwhelming inference to be drawn is that at the time of taking that money, Dr Mittal had the intention of permanently depriving Ms Wissenden of the £130" - Andrew Forsythe, prosecuting
“A little while later, Dr Mittal came out and asked Ms Button if they had found the money.
"On being told not, she suggested they try the toilet and opened the door.
“By the time Ms Button joined Ms Wissenden that area, Dr Mittal was starting to open the changing mat and there, on the far side, was the money - £130 in the same denominations as that which had been in her purse, “ he claimed.
The doctor is also alleged to have telephoned the patient later that night to plead with her to drop the theft charge.
Mr Forsythe claimed: “We suggest that the overwhelming inference to be drawn is that at the time of taking that money, Dr Mittal had the intention of permanently depriving Ms Wissenden of the £130.”
The trial continues.
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