A GWENT doctor was jailed for 15 years yesterday for drugging, raping and indecently assaulting young girls.

And a retired Newport doctor, who worked alongside pervert police surgeon Dr Robert Wells said he is "deeply shocked" at his former colleague's actions.

Dr Russell Rhys, 79, worked alongside Wells at the Isca Medical Centre in High Street, Caerleon, in the 1980s.

He said: "The man I knew was regarded as a good doctor in the area. "I worked with him for a few years but two years after I retired he became bankrupt.

"Like everyone I was deeply shocked." After his conviction at Winchester crown court a sordid picture emerged of Wells who befriended the parents of his victims before attacking them.

The court heard Wells, whose full address in Cwmbran has never been revealed, persuaded the parents to allow him to look after the children. Once he had them alone, he drugged the children using benzodiazepine and Temazepam - drugs which would have knocked the girls out and caused amnesia.

He then filmed the girls while he either raped or assaulted them. All the attacks took place early in 2003. Wells moved to the south coast after resigning from the Caerleon surgery in 1989 when he was made bankrupt. A high-profile bankruptcy hearing in Newport saw Wells, who at the time was living in Jerusalem Lane, Pontypool, earn the nickname of the "Romeo doctor". It emerged the 52-year-old had run up more than £1.5 million in debts on a string of girlfriends, fast cars and holidays abroad.

Wells claimed that he had girlfriends queuing up for him and showered them with gifts, including £800 dresses and watches from Harrods.

After rebuilding his life on the south coast, Wells worked as a forensic medical examiner, or police surgeon, in Southampton and Winchester areas of Hampshire. He also had a private practice in Brighton.

At a flat in Southampton where most of the attacks occurred police found a contraption of covered polystyrene on a wooden board with red straps which one of his victims said was called Satan's Pillow.

Police raids also found evidence of child pornography and of him accessing paedophile newsgroups.

During his four-week trial Wells, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, said he put himself in a position to be accused of the offences because he wanted a reason to be able to commit suicide.

He was convicted of two charges of rape of an 11-year-old girl and three charges of indecent assault against the same girl.

He was convicted of taking an indecent photograph of a child as well as administering drugs to a second 11-year-old and a girl aged five and indecently assaulting the 11-year-old.

He was cleared of one rape charge involving the first 11-year-old and also of a charge of indecent assault of the five-year-old.

After his conviction Judge Keith Cutler said Wells was a "dangerous sex offender" who breached the trust of his profession, sending a "shiver down the spine."