A RETIRED GP on trial charged with the indecent assault of seven woman told police in a prepared statement that the patients may have ‘misunderstood his style of practice’.

Stephen Cox, now of Marton, Welshpool in Shropshire, has been charged with eight counts of indecent assault on seven different women at a Warfield surgery between 1990 and 1997.

The 62-year-old worked at Ralph Rides Surgery in Bracknell, which is now known as the Waterfield Practice, more than two decades ago. During this time, it is alleged he committed a range of sexual offences which he denies.

READ MORE: Bracknell doctor, 62, 'sexually assaulted patients during medical examinations'

It is alleged that he inappropriately touched different woman’s breasts, nipples and thighs.

At an ongoing trial at Reading Crown Court, Michael Rawlinson, defending Cox, read out a statement Cox had prepared for police when he was first presented with the charges.

The statement said: “I deny any sexual assault [including] touching or inappropriate examinations. It may be that my actions have been misunderstood by these patients as my style at the time which was intended to put patients at ease.”

A retired GP who has been called by the defence as an expert witness in the trial supported the case that sometimes there can be physical touching between a GP and patient as a sign of empathy.

Speaking on Tuesday (March 14), Dr Tony Feltbower said: “Leaning forward and touching a patient on their knee was not uncommon or putting a hand on their shoulder as they left would be a sign of empathy between the doctor and the patient.”

READ MORE: Stephen Cox trial: Retired GP says assault claims are 'not true'

Dr Feltbower, who is now a community surgeon and GP appraiser, provided his thoughts on each patient’s evidence in the case.

For one woman who alleged Cox had touched her breasts underneath her bra when she had complained of abdominal pain, Dr Feltbower said if the examination happened the way the patient described it would not be ‘clinically justified’.

However, he added: “Although, palpitations of the right lateral chest wall and part of her right breasts through the bra would have been reasonable as part of a routine examination.

“[Underneath the bra] would not have been justified and would be regarded as inappropriate but the stethoscope may be placed under the bra to listen to the heart.”

Another patient also alleged Cox had felt her breasts during her pregnancy and commented that she had ‘rather large breasts’.

READ MORE: Stephen Cox GP allegedly called young girl a 'special patient'

Dr Feltbower said an examination of breasts during pregnancy was ‘reasonable’ to check for inverted of flat nipples.

The trial continues.