A Liverpool doctor who told a 12-year-old girl she would be “great in bed in a few years” was actually communicating with an undercover police officer.
Dr David Walker used messaging app Kik to communicate online with an account he thought was a girl called Ellie. Throughout July 2021, Walker sent messages to the account asking for sexual pictures and offering to kiss her.
The medical practitioner was in fact talking to undercover officers who detained him two months later. After receiving a suspended prison sentence last summer, Walker will now be barred from continuing his medical practice.
A decision made public following a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing this week revealed at the time of the offences, Walker had been working in north Liverpool as a GP registrar having qualified in 2017 and previously worked at Wirral University Teaching Hospital between 2017 and 2019.
The report said in 2021, the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit received information suggesting that Walker had been communicating online, and in a sexual manner, with an undercover officer who was purporting to be a 12-year-old girl called “Ellie”.
A warrant was obtained for a search of Walker’s home address and he was arrested and interviewed under caution at St Anne Street Police Station the same day. Walker answered “no comment” to all substantive questions.
Following the search, Walker’s electronic devices were seized and forensically analysed. On 8 July, 2021, Walker had registered an account with Kik and briefly joined a group chat “UK Teens to 25” and then sent an unsolicited direct message to an account which had the username “Ellie”, which was in fact being operated by the undercover officer.
Walker asked how old she was, to which she replied that she was 12 years old. The conversation took on an overtly sexual nature at his instigation, including Walker saying that she was pretty, asking for a picture, telling her he would kiss her, and telling her that she would be “great in bed in a few years”.
He continued to send messages for a further four days. Walker incited the purported child to engage in sexual activity, namely by requesting that she send him indecent photographs of herself.
Further analysis of his devices showed a back-up email address linked to an NHS account and the Kik app had been accessed at his home address, at his parents’ home address, and at the Ormskirk & District General Hospital where Dr Walker had been on placement during his training.
Walker entered guilty pleas to two charges at Liverpool Crown Court in May last year and was sentenced in July to two years in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.
In his sentencing remarks, Recorder Ian Harris said, “The messages you sent were detailed and repellent. I am sure from your perspective masturbatory in nature. You knew exactly what you were doing in engaging in this paedophile behaviour.
“When “Ellie” asked if you were older than 16 you replied you were not and it would be ‘proper bad’ if you were older. Make no mistake, this offending was planned, it was nasty and deliberate.”
During the hearing as to whether Walker should be struck from the medical records, his representative said while he accepted his fitness to practise was impaired but the offending was “isolated and limited to a short period.” It was also said this was not a case where any indecent images were found on any device.
Despite this, the tribunal determined that his actions and conduct would be considered “deplorable” by members of the public and members of the profession. As a result, Walker is to be struck from the register of professionals with a licence to practise, subject to an appeal.
Image: Usman Yousaf