A psychiatrist who surfed the web to look at depraved pictures of youngsters is free to work with children again.
Dr Darryl Watts blamed stress and depression after he spent up to 30 hours a week on the internet looking at images of violence and indecent pictures of young girls.
In April 2003 police raided his home and seized Watts’ computer which contained an image of a naked girl aged between five and seven years old in sexual poses.
Watts was fined £1,500 by Hereford Magistrates after admitting possession of an indecent photograph of a child under the age of 16.
He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for five years and his computer was destroyed.
Watts was suspended for a year by the GMC and later banned from working with children.
But the Hereford-based doctor has successfully appealed for the restrictions to be lifted.
He blamed the stress of a 70,000-patient workload at the Blackberry Hill Hospital, Bristol, for his behaviour.
Watts told the hearing: ‘I began to get into a frame of mind where I began to hate my failings and my shortcomings.
‘I began to get very negative thoughts about myself and dislike myself significantly.
‘When I had time off work because I was not coping I became more introverted.
‘At that time I started to use the internet and I used it to look at things that were horrible images.
‘That seemed to validate what I was feeling in here, in myself. I looked at things to do with suicide and I looked at horrible images of people being hurt or maimed, car crashes, bombings. I did see something to do with Lady Diana.
‘These images were in some way an external representation of what I was feeling inside. Along with the looking at some images of child pornography as well.’
When asked if the child images were sexual he said ‘certainly not.’
In January 2003 Watts moved from the Bristol hospital to a Hereford clinic with his partner Jackie Valentine.
He was caught in Operation Ricochet run by Avon and Somerset Constabulary to combat child porn on the internet and one stored image was found on his computer.
Watts added: ‘I’m so, so sorry I have done it. It won’t happen again. What I did supports the procurement of these sorts of pictures.’
The doctor now works part time at a clinic in Newport as well as running a bed and breakfast in Harewood End, Herefordshire, with his partner.
He spends his spare time cleaning toilets and making beds, he said.
The GMC panel agreed Watts, of Handley Cross House, Harewood End, Herefordshire, could now practice again without restriction.
His governing body found the doctor’s fitness to practise was no longer impaired.
GMC chairman Dr Timothy Ross said: ‘The panel accepts that you now have clear insight into the effects of your behaviour on yourself, your patients, the profession and on victims of abuse.
‘The testimonial evidence is that you have retained the confidence of your professional colleagues and that your clinical competence is not in doubt.
‘The panel is confident that a fair-minded member of the public, if in full possession of the facts would not conclude that it is necessary in the public interest to continue to restrict your registration.
‘The medical evidence indicates that there are no concerns regarding your health and also the reports from your workplace supervisors confirm that you continue to work as a competent and caring doctor, working solely in adult psychiatry, who commands the confidence of his professional colleagues.
‘Talking all factors into account, the panel has determined that your fitness to practise is not now impaired.
‘Having reached that conclusion, the panel hereby revokes the current order of conditions with immediate effect.’
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