GP, 37, faces career ruin as he is convicted of harassing his builder

GP, 37, faces career ruin as he is convicted of harassing his builder after posting a gay escort advert for his services online when the pair fell out over money

  • Dr Suthan Ulakanthan twice shared posts on Vivastreet about Steven Hay, 30
  • The GP, 37, claims ex-soldier Mr Hay, 30, was a ‘cowboy’ who had ripped him off
  • Dr Ulakanthan, from South Croydon, found guilty of harassment after a trial
  • Are you the builder in the story?  Email [email protected]

A GP who posted a fake advert for gay sexual services with the details of the builder he fell out with has been found guilty of harassment.

Dr Suthan Ulakanathan, 37, twice posted the gay escort advertisements on a website called Vivastreet selling sex acts ‘all night and day’, Croydon Magistrates’ Court heard.

The doctor, who works at Townhill Medical Practice in Caterham, claimed ex-soldier Steven Hay, 30, was a ‘cowboy’ who ripped him off over a fence job and said he was forced to pay another worker to finish it. 

He admitted placing both ads on the website when arrested and questioned by police.

‘At the time I wanted to wind him up. I felt he had taken advantage of me and my family,’ said the doctor, dismissing the posts as a ‘harmless prank.’

However, Deputy District Judge Adrian Turner did not agree and convicted Dr Ulakanathan, of South Croydon, after a trial of harassing Mr Hay between September 9 and November 14, last year.

Dr Suthan Ulakanthan, who twice shared posts about his builder on a website called Viva Street selling sexual favours, has been found guilty of harassment, Croydon Magistrates’ Court heard

‘A lot of thought went into how you got your own back,’ he told Dr. Ulakanathan, who now face a General Medical Council professional misconduct probe. ‘This was not a sudden reaction. It was planned and calculated.’

The University of London graduate, who is a partner at Downhill Medical Practice, was fined £2,000, with £720 costs and ordered to pay a £190 victim surcharge.

The trial heard Dr Ulakanathan added the builder’s name, mobile phone number and residential address in Croydon to the posts.

He added the words: ‘Young 30-year-old male, all types welcome, confidential, if free come to mine, will be in all day most days,’ to both adverts. 

Dr Ulakanathan’s lawyer Susannah Stevens told the court: ‘There are proceedings before the GMC and whether he has got a job after this remains to be seen.

‘It has already been published in full technicolour with his photograph. His name has been ruined. His neighbours and patients will read about this.

‘It is utterly humiliating. He has been punished.’

The builder told the court the pair fell out over a fence installation with the doctor only paying £300 of the £600 bill, however the GP claims he and his family were threatened into paying an excessive amount.

Prosecutor Melanie Hardwick told the court: ‘The defendant employed Mr Hay, a roofer, back in late August, last year to do work on a fence. There was a dispute and the parties went their separate ways.

‘Mr Hay received a phone call from someone saying that they got his phone number from Vivastreet, which advertises gay escorts and asked him if he wanted to meet up.’  

The builder was enjoying a drink in the pub when the first text arrived. 

‘They texted: ‘hey you,’ with a kiss and I thought it may be an ex-girlfriend,’ he told the trial.

‘They proceeded to ring me and it was a man who said he found me on Vivastreet.’ 

‘I got fifty to sixty calls and texts for three months,’ added Mr Hay, saying the anxiety triggered his PTSD. ‘I lost sleep and friends because I did not know who was doing it and missed work.’

On one occasion a man turned up at his house in response to the advert and spoke to Mr Hay’s mother, causing the builder to dash home. 

‘One person turned up at his house asking for sexual services and that made him anxious at a time his mother was at home shielding,’ said the prosecutor. 

The first ad was live for five days and the second two days.

On February 13, this year Dr Ulakanathan was arrested and told officers Mr Hay was a ‘cowboy’ who failed to complete a fence job for a memorial garden dedicated to his late father. 

The 37-year-old claimed ex-soldier Steven Hay (pictured), 30, was a ‘cowboy’ who ripped him off over a fence job and he was forced to pay another worker to complete it

‘He fully accepted setting up the two accounts and did not think the first was saved properly and did it a second time and then wanted to delete them but did not know how to,’ explained Ms Hardwick.

‘He said the complainant was a cowboy builder and the work had to be redone.’

Mr Hay admitted: ‘I messed him about a bit,’ confirming he walked off the job because the doctor did not want to pay for more labour and materials to finish the fence.

The GP told the court of that the ads were ‘harmless’ and ‘a prank’.

‘I thought he would find it silly and irritating. It was never my intention that anyone would come to his house or for him to be threatened or distressed.’

Dr Ulakanathan said PTSD caused by the deaths of his father Ulaganathan Subramaniam, 65, uncle Sivananthan, 56, and cousin in quick succession from Covid last year was responsible for his behaviour.

He told the trial he was known for childish, silly pranks from his university and medical school days and one of his court references referred to his ‘childish sense of humour.’

He said the first advert was posted on his wedding anniversary and the second on a Hindu ‘auspicious day’ when his toddler daughter was dressed in a traditional outfit bought by his late father.

‘There were emotions I never fully understood at the time, leading me to behave in an inappropriate way.

‘The emotions that I was going through triggered me to react in such a way and be childish an immature,’ he told the trial.

The married father claimed the stress of running his medical practice, where he has been a partner for five years, under Covid conditions and seeing patients, who were positive had increased his anxiety.

The GP insisted Mr Hay threatened him and his family when demanding another £300 for the job, after he agreed and paid a total of £1600.

‘I was scared he might do something and was prepared to pay anything to end the drama. He said if I did not pay him £300 he was going to tear down my fence and he knows where me and my family live.’

The doctor knew about Vivastreet from once searching for a pregnancy massage kit for his wife, but claims he only posted twice because he did not know if the first post was successfully published.

‘I put it on there and did not get any confirmation it had gone through.

‘Several months later I went back and searched on Vivastreet using some of the words I used to make the advert and I could not see anything in the gay escorts section.

‘I thought it hadn’t gone through, that it had not worked so I put it on again.’

Speaking about his experience on the day of his arrest Dr Ulakanathan said: ‘I was changing a nappy and getting ready for work when there was a knock on the door and I saw the police van from upstairs and thought ”has something happened to my mother and sister?”

‘Three police officers came into the house and took me into my living-room and in front of my wife and daughter told me I was under arrest and I was put in a police van and I was in a cell for several hours.

‘It was a surreal, horrible experience. I was very confused and did not know what was going on.

‘I thought what I posted was not abusive or threatening and Mr Hay’s name, address and phone number was already published on a public forum, that’s how I found him.

‘I did not hide my details or hide my IP address. I did not disguise.’ 

When cross-examined Dr Ulakanathan insisted: ‘I wanted to wind him up. It was never my intention to get back at him.

‘It’s not in my character to do that, to get revenge. I was not even expecting anyone to call him for these services to be honest.’

Convicting Dr Ulakanathan Deputy District Judge Turner announced: ‘He is a man with a distinguished professional record, a medical practice, is of good character and is highly regarded by his professional colleagues.

‘The wedding anniversary was some sort of trigger against Mr Hay that day. When you give someone’s name, phone number and address it’s to cause maximum inconvenience.

‘The means chosen for revenge were chosen for maximum effect. This was in no way a prank and it was never meant to be a prank at all.

‘This was very, very serious and I have no hesitation saying it is conduct deserving to be marked by a conviction.

‘It grieves me to see a man in his position, his background and of his character where he is now, but I can’t allow that to effect me.’

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