A jealous doctor has been jailed after orchestrating a fake campaign of abuse as part of a web of lies to sabotage his flatmate’s relationships.
Javed Saumtally, a 28-year-old medic from Ipswich, was described in court as a “devious” and “deceitful” man with an “unhealthy obsession” with his flatmate.
He took “extraordinary steps” to concoct an elaborate deception, which included crafting fake text messages, emails and screenshots, and even inventing a police officer.
The campaign of lies resulted in one of his flatmate’s ex-partners being held in police custody for 14 hours and having his electronic devices held for nearly two months before his name was eventually cleared, Brighton Crown Court heard.
Sentencing him to 15 months in prison after he was convicted of perverting the course of justice at Hove Crown Court last month, Judge Jeremy Gold QC repeatedly remarked that it was a “tragedy” that a doctor such as Saumtally should carry out such serious offending and end up in court.
Saumtally and the flatmate had been in a brief relationship when they lived in Brighton, before moving separately to Ipswich where they shared a flat.
He then set about “sending abusive and derogatory messages from unknown numbers” to his flatmate but also to himself, “no doubt to make it look like he was also a victim and to deflect attention away from him,” prosecutor Jonathan Atkinson said during the trial.
The various deceits were part of a “concerted ploy by Saumtally to deliberately undermine the relationships of his flatmate ... to [make him] feel under threat and harassed as a result, all the while pretending to act as an understanding friend and companion”, Mr Atkinson told jurors.
“He was devious, he was determined and technologically adept,” Mr Atkinson said. “No one else stood to gain, he had the motive, he had the means throughout these incidents. He created false exhibits and he lied to police.”
As a result, one of his flatmate’s former partners was interviewed by police officers and had his devices held for 56 days before his name was cleared, in a period said to feel “like Covid isolation”.
The man, who said the false accusations he faced were “life-changing”, then had to fight to overturn a decision not to prosecute Saumtally. His tenacity in doing so was commended by the judge.
Facing the doctor in court on Monday, the man referred to his former partner as he said: “It was deeply hurtful to have our time together ruined in such a bitter way.”
He added: “It's so important for me to get justice and find out why such deceitful lies were told to me.”
Defence barrister Janet Weeks said Saumtally has now expressed remorse and has accepted responsibility.
She described his actions as “absurd obsessive behaviour” but cited his “truly exemplary conduct outside his offending”, and called on Judge Gold to suspend any prison sentence, pointing to Saumtally’s young age and health issues.
But the judge said: “I have to make it clear to anyone who behaves as you did – forging emails from police officers is going to result in a sentence of immediate custody, however eminent the defendant may be.”
Sentencing him, Judge Gold recognised he was a “highly able young man” and a qualified doctor who had served on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It's a tragedy that I should have to deal with you for such a serious offence as perverting the course of justice,” he said.
Additional reporting by PA
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