Doctor ‘ashamed’ of Bloodgate role

THE matchday rugby doctor at the centre of the ‘Bloodgate’ fake injury scandal said yesterday she was “ashamed” of her role in the event.

Dr Wendy Chapman said she still could not understand why she succumbed to “huge pressure” from Harlequins winger Tom Williams, who asked her to cut his lip as a cover-up after he bit into a fake-blood capsule.

His so-called injury meant a goal kicker could come on to the pitch in the dying minutes of last April’s Heineken Cup quarter-final tie against Leinster, who held on to win 6-5.

The doctor admitted for the first time on Monday that she cut the player with a stitch cutter in the changing rooms after match officials had started to make inquiries.

Sobbing as she gave evidence before a General Medical Council disciplinary hearing, Dr Chapman described the moment she realised she had been “duped”.

“I was horrified, just horrified. This is a very huge game and they cheated,” she said. “I was very ashamed that I gave into the pressure.”

She said she was so embarrassed about what she had done that she felt she could not confide in anybody.

Dr Chapman said: “I was too ashamed. I was desperate to ask for some help, I was so ashamed of doing the wrong thing.”

Her counsel, Mary O’Rourke, asked: “Why did you cut him?”

She replied: “I don’t understand. It sounds really feeble. I knew there was huge pressure but normally I would just walk out.”

Yesterday, she also admitted she falsely stated at a subsequent European Rugby Cup (ERC) hearing last July that Williams’ injury was real and that she had not cut his lip.

She said the hearing “spiralled into a complete nightmare” as the other parties involved in the case – the club, Williams, director of rugby Dean Richards and physiotherapist Steph Brennan – all stuck to the story.

“They were all saying that there was a real injury, that is all real blood,” she said. “I was just desperate. To be the one person to stand up and say ‘It was not’... I did not know what to do.

“There was no justification, it was the wrong thing to do.”

She admitted almost all the charges against her from the GMC which says her conduct on the match day and at the subsequent ERC hearing was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest.

The only matter that Dr Chapman contests is that she told match officials that Williams had a loose tooth in order to deceive them.

The accident and emergency consultant was suspended on no pay from Maidstone Hospital in Kent following the incident and has since left her post. She cannot practise until the outcome of the scheduled two-week fitness to practise hearing in Manchester where she could be struck off.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox