A woman who developed a crippling fear of owls after religious grooming by her doctor has won a damages claim.
Sally Brayshaw, 54, was taken to religious meetings and told the devil was “having a real go” at her by GP Thomas O’Brien.
She claimed the locum doctor, a Pentecostal Christian, suggested she was possessed by demons and advised her not to see a psychiatrist.
A High Court judge ruled she was entitled to more than £12,700.
Mrs Brayshaw, of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was in pain following an operation when she went to see Dr O’Brien in August 2012.
At a previous hearing, her lawyers told the court the GP “commended to her a way of healing without medication”.
Over the next six months Dr O’Brien engaged Mrs Brayshaw in a number of religious activities, taking her to services, giving her religious gifts and setting her television to the Gospel channel to “soak” her in religious content.
On one occasion, Mrs Brayshaw said she was taken to a meeting where a preacher spoke of sacrificing an owl.
This left her so terrified of the birds she could no longer look at a picture of one without becoming terrified.
Mr Justice Martin Spencer said it was “foreseeable” Mrs Brayshaw might “react adversely”, adding: “By reason of his zealous promotion of the religious aspects, [Dr O’Brien] became blind to the medical aspects and thereby caused or contributed to the deterioration in the claimant’s mental health.”
Dr O’Brien took no part in the case and his whereabouts are unknown.
He was investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) and struck off in 2015.
The judge rejected Mrs Brayshaw’s claim against the partners of Apsley Surgery, in Stoke-on-Trent, where Mr O’Brien worked as a locum.