East Lothian massage therapist who sexually assaulted two women during treatment escapes jail sentence

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Therapist appears at Edinburgh court for sentencing

A massage therapist who groped the breasts of two female clients while treating them for back and neck problems has escaped a jail term.

Gavin Murray, 60, fondled the women while massaging them as they lay semi-naked on a treatment table at his clinic in Dunbar, East Lothian.

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Murray denied assaulting the women by sliding his hand under the towels they were wearing and touching their breasts but was found guilty following a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.

One victim told the court she felt “violated” by the sex assault on her and was so distressed afterwards she suffered panic attacks and was forced to take time off work. The second woman said she had been left “exposed” during the massage session where Murray had “stopped just short of touching my nipples”.

Murray, from Dunbar, returned to the dock for sentencing on Monday, April 8, where Sheriff Ian Anderson was told the shamed therapist continues to deny he attacked both women.

Gavin Murray, 60, fondled the women while massaging them as they lay semi-naked on a treatment table at his clinic in Dunbar.Gavin Murray, 60, fondled the women while massaging them as they lay semi-naked on a treatment table at his clinic in Dunbar.
Gavin Murray, 60, fondled the women while massaging them as they lay semi-naked on a treatment table at his clinic in Dunbar. | AL

Advocate Lili Prais, defending, said her client “unremarkably retains the position he adopted at trial” and said the social work report deems him as “very low risk” of any sexual re-offending.

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Ms Prais said Murray had “a [previous] significant employment history” as a civil engineer and hopes to “reignite” his career in that field in the future.

Sheriff Anderson said he was issuing a community disposal as “an alternative to custody due to the nature of the offences”. Murray was placed on a supervision order and on the Sex Offenders Register for 12 months.

The sheriff also imposed a conduct requirement where Murray is banned from massaging anyone apart from his wife and banned him from contacting both victims in the case.

Previously the first victim told the trial she attended for massage sessions with Murray for treatment to her neck, back and shoulders after contacting him on Facebook in November 2021.

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She said during the second appointment he had asked her to lie on her back with a towel covering her upper body. The woman, who is in her 40s, said: “His hands went down my cleavage and he brought them back up again over my breasts. He touched my nipples.

“I was stunned to the spot. I have never been touched intimately like that apart from my husband in 20 years. I certainly never consented to it - I felt violated by it.”

The woman told the court she had subsequently suffered panic attacks due to the assault and was forced to take time off work due to stress.

The second victim told the court she suffered from muscular and back pain and contacted Murray through his social media page in June 2022. The woman, who is in her 30s, said she attended three appointments with the therapist and on the third occasion he had asked her to lie on her back with a towel covering her upper body.

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She told the trial Murray used both hands to massage “under my arms and down the side of my breasts” as he slid his hands under the towel.

The woman said: “His fingers were so far down they were just about touching my nipples. I didn’t do anything as I didn’t know what to do in that situation.”

She said Murray had “stopped just short of touching my nipples” and that she had felt “very exposed” and “uncomfortable” during the massage session.

Murray was found guilty of sexually assaulting two women by touching their breasts without consent at a business premises at High Street, Dunbar, East Lothian, on November 3, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

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