Published: 19:59, 04 February 2019
| Updated: 12:56, 05 February 2019
An elderly doctor could be sent to jail after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a former patient.
Dr Iftikhar Ali stroked the victim's thigh, sniffed her hair and repeatedly tried to kiss her on the lips as they discussed her personal life.
The 69-year-old father, who worked as GP at a surgery in New Road, Chatham, bragged about his wealth and talked of taking her to his property in Spain.
Maidstone Crown Court heard they met up one evening to discuss some matters and Ali drove her to his home on a large plot with electric gates near Blue Bell Hill.
Prosecutor Nina Ellin said Ali poured the woman a glass of wine and his inappropriate behaviour became persistent.
The victim told of feeling “scared and uncomfortable” and claimed he threatened to kill her if she told anybody.
She sent WhatsApp messages to a friend, providing “almost a real-time commentary” of what was happening.
In one, she said: "He's been so weird. I'm scared. So bad. Never meeting him again. I cannot breathe, I'm so scared.
"Hope my phone doesn't die. He wanted me to sleep in his bed."
Miss Ellin said when they met in July 2016 she believed they were going to a restaurant, but he took her to his home and offered her expensive wine he said patients had given to him as gifts.
She took just a sip and later poured it away. She began to feel uneasy.
"He began to brag about how wealthy he was, before reaching across and putting his arm around her," said Miss Ellin.
"He pulled her towards him and began stroking her hair. She told him she needed to go to the toilet.
“She was extremely uncomfortable and unsure about what to do. She messaged her friend to tell her she was scared."
When she returned from the toilet he put arms around her, pulled her towards him and leaned in for a kiss.
"He continued to try to touch her,” said Miss Ellin.
“He pulled up her top to look at her stomach. He kept trying to kiss her but only connected with the side of her lips because she kept pulling away.
"He also told her that if she told her family he would kill her, and then laughed. She was shocked."
The woman was horrified when Ali suggested she stayed the night, and froze when she saw what she thought was pink, satin-type lingerie on his bed.
"He told her that if she told her family he would kill her, and then laughed... she was shocked" - prosecutor Nina Ellin
"She felt scared and trapped,” said Miss Ellin.
Ali asked for a hug. He put his arms around her and tried to kiss her but she turned her head.
He then appeared to get the message and stopped his advances.
The woman went to another room and wept.
Miss Ellin said the WhatsApp messages showed the woman’s unease and fear of being trapped in the house as he “perpetrated his inappropriate and untoward physical advances on her”.
When she later complained, Ali claimed she had stolen money from him.
Interviewed by police, he claimed his two daughters had been at his home that evening, but later admitted they were with his ex-wife.
Ali, who has since retired, also said he did not drink or have wine in his home.
When shown a photo the woman had taken of what appeared to be two glasses of wine, he claimed it was berry juice.
He denied there was any inappropriate behaviour.
Ali, of The Downs, Chatham, denied sexual assault, but was convicted after the jury of seven men and five women retired for less than 90 minutes.
Miss Ellin said after the verdict that the victim was particularly vulnerable because of her “personal circumstances”.
“She was isolated in the house – locked in,” she said.
“It was the middle of the night when she was not able to get away.”
Michael Haynes, defending, said there had to be an explanation of why a man of his age behaved in such a way.
“He has had a drink and must have acted out of character,” he said.
"You have now been convicted of sexual assault... all options are open to the court, including a custodial sentence" - Recorder Eleanor Laws
Recorder Eleanor Laws QC asked: “Or was he oiling the wheels for what he wanted to happen later?”
Mr Haynes submitted it was “a highly unusual case” and that it was not the most serious of such cases to reach court.
“He didn’t push it as far as he could have,” he said.
“It was a terrible misjudgement on his behalf after having an unfamiliar amount of alcohol.”
Mr Haynes added that custody had to be considered but submitted it “shouts out for the sentence to be suspended”.
Adjourning sentence until Friday for a probation report, Recorder Laws told Ali: “You have now been convicted of sexual assault.
"All options are open to the court, including a custodial sentence.”
Bail was granted, conditional on residence.
More by this authorKeith Hunt