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Former Heckington-based RAF doctor erased from the medical register after child sexual offences

An imprisoned former RAF doctor has been erased from the medical register after being convicted of child sexual offences earlier this year.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal into the actions of Dr Andrew Groves, a former Wing Commander and Consultant in Occupational Medicine, concluded on Thursday.

Lincoln Crown Court previously convicted him on two counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, leading to a sentence of 36 months imprisonment and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years or until further order.

Dr Andrew Groves, formerly known as Tomason
Dr Andrew Groves, formerly known as Tomason

These convictions date back to incidents in 2005 involving sexual communications with under-age females aged between 13 and 15 years.

The tribunal heard the case over two days, despite the absence of Dr Groves, who was formerly based at RAF Cranwell.

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Lincolnshire Police arrested Dr Groves, formerly known as Thomason, in December 2018 and subsequently seized numerous electronic devices from his home and workplace, revealing incriminating evidence.

Dr Groves maintained his right to silence during his arrest and re-arrest in July 2019.

The trial at Lincoln Crown Court led to his conviction on April 14, 2023.

Mr Byrne, representing the General Medical Council (GMC), highlighted the seriousness of Dr Groves’ conviction, noting the judge’s remarks about his persistent sexual interest in children and his lack of insight or remediation.

He also noted Dr Groves’ “refusal to accept his guilt and maintenance of his defence that he believed he was communicating with like-minded, ‘perverted’ adults”.

The judge, during sentencing, had noted Dr Groves’ “utterly corrupt” nature and “deluded self-belief.”

Mitigating factors highlighted by Mr Byrne included the long gap of 18 years between the events leading to his conviction and the conviction itself in 2023, his lack of prior criminal conduct, and his previously exemplary character demonstrated through a distinguished military and medical career and involvement in charitable work post-arrest.

However, the report noted: “Mr Byrne submitted that Dr Groves demonstrated a deliberate or reckless disregard for the principles set out in GMP and that in light of the sexual nature of his offence and the lack of insight, erasure is necessary to maintain the high standards and good reputation of the profession,” said the report.

“He submitted that there are different levels of seriousness when it comes to sexual misconduct, but that Dr Groves’ conduct is certainly towards the top of any scale as he attempted to incite two separate children to engage in penetrative sexual activity.”

In making their decision, the tribunal noted that the purpose of sanctions “is not to punish a doctor, but to protect the public.”

Groves, formerly stationed at RAF Cranwell and a resident of Windmill Drive in Heckington, Sleaford, relocated outside of Lincolnshire following his dismissal from the RAF.

According to the General Medical Council, Groves received his primary medical qualification (MB BS) from the University of London in 1989 and was fully registered on August 1, 1990.

He was added to the GP Register on March 31, 2006, and to the Specialist Register in Occupational Medicine on December 16 2012.

However, as of August 10, 2023, Groves has been interim suspended from practising, and his registration on both the GP and Specialist Registers is currently suspended.

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