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Royal London Hospital neurosurgeon, 57, amassed hoard of extreme child porn and animal abuse images

A Royal London Hospital neurosurgeon amassed a horrific hoard of extreme child porn and animal abuse images – including dogs, pigs and eels – over 15 years.

Dr Richard Van Groningen, 57, admitted to possessing more than 1,480 pieces of child porn including 114 Category A images, the most extreme category.

The medic also collected bestiality images with police officers finding more than 230 pieces of extreme material.

Van Groningen resigned from his role at Barts Health NHS Trust when the images were discovered and has been suspended from practice.

The trust said it is helping the police and the General Medical Council with its investigation.

Dressed in a tan suit, Van Groningen admitted five counts of possessing child abuse and bestiality images at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday. 

Prosecutor Samantha Doyle said the images, amassed between September 2003 and December 2018, were of the most severe category.

She told the court: ‘Searches for toddler and pre-teen were found on multiple devices as well as bestiality, so it is well out of the sentencing power of this court.’

Van Groningen from Purleigh, Essex, was bailed ahead of his sentence next month at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Chair of the bench David Murtagh said: ‘This isn’t suitable for summary justice, this matter will be committed to crown court for sentence.’

Alistair Chesser, group chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, revealed the doctor was no longer with the trust and said patient safety is its number one priority.

He 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.

‘As soon as we were alerted to this police investigation, we immediately restricted Dr Van Groningen’s practice and notified the General Medical Council (GMC).

‘Dr Van Groningen was subsequently excluded from his work at the hospital and he resigned during the investigation.

‘Although Dr Van Groningen is no longer employed by Barts Health we continue to assist the police and the GMC.’

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