Great Britain

Woman claims hypnotist ‘sexually assaulted her’ during session in Edinburgh

A high-flying international property agent told a court a “powerful and charismatic” hypnotist sexually assaulted her while she was a pupil at a Scottish private school.

The 28-year-old woman flew in from the Middle East to give evidence in the trial of alternative medicine practitioner Michael Walsh, 70, at Perth Sheriff Court.

She said she had been a pupil at two fee-paying schools in central Scotland when she was sent to Walsh for treatment by her parents.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had been groped by Walsh at his practice at Greengairs Farm, Blairgowrie, more than a decade ago.

She said: “I think I first met him in September 2005. I was introduced to him by my other therapist. I might have met him once before that at a horse show.”

She said she regularly attended married Walsh’s home-based clinic and was allowed to stay overnight on several occasions as she continued to receive hypnotherapy.

She admitted she had been disturbed and “attention-seeking” as a teenage schoolgirl but added that years of therapy had led to her reporting incidents to the police.

The woman said her mother was probably paying the Walsh’s for her upkeep when she stayed but denied that the accused’s wife stood to benefit from the arrangement.

“I don’t think anyone benefits from their husband being a weirdo. Everyone loses,” she said. “My concern was that his charisma and power could damage other people and that didn’t sit well with me.

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“The whole reason I would have seen a Scottish therapist was because I had moved to a Scottish school. I started seeing him as soon as I moved up to the new school.”

She said she was at a Scottish Carriage Driving Association event in Laurencekirk when Walsh plied her with alcohol and said he planned to have sex with her.

“Mike had given me alcohol earlier in the day and told me that later that night we were likely to have sex,” she said. “I’m not making this up. I felt very guilty, ashamed.

“It took a while for me to work out what went on. It take a while to realise what had been happening. I don’t think many totally balanced 14-year-olds get sent to therapists.

“Now I’ve got a great job, I’m engaged and I live a truthful life. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t telling the truth. I very much know the difference and that’s why I’m here today.”

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She said Walsh had subsequently sent her a “rather goading message”.

Walsh, Blairgowrie, denies sexually assaulting a woman in Edinburgh, between 1 November 2001 and 30 November 2003.

That charge alleges that “whilst in the course of administering hypnotherapy” he sexually assaulted her by placing his hand up her skirt and touching her inner thigh.

The second charge alleges that Walsh indecently assaulted the schoolgirl at his practice in Blairgowrie, on a number of occasions between 1 September 2005 and 30 September 2006.

It is alleged that “whilst administering hypnotherapy to her” he asked her to sit on his knee, cuddled and kissed her, and made sexualised remarks to her.

The trial before Sheriff Gillian Wade continues.

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