When Dr Rupert Pemsel clocked in at 8pm at the Princess Anne maternity hospital in Southampton colleagues and patients assumed the evening would go like any other.

But just seven minutes into reporting in for his night shift, the trainee anaesthatist took a reckless gamble which led to him falling victim to a blackmail plot, the prospect of a career in medicine in tatters - and a lot of explaining to do to his wife and family.

As new mothers and babies lay in their beds and cribs, Pemsel - whose wife is a GP - met up with a call girl he had booked earlier by phone and the pair had sex in a side room on the ward.

In anticipation as much as hope Pemsell did text the woman saying: ''This is naughty on my part so discretion would really be appreciated.''

But the married father of one was subsequently contacted by associates of the escort who demanded £10,000 warning they would reveal details of his 40 minute dangerous liaison to his wife and NHS officials if he didn't pay up.

Pemsel called police who set up a sting operation in a hotel to catch the blackmailers but during a pep-talk, he inexplicably showed detectives an intimate radiograph picture of an unnamed sleeping patient on his mobile phone.

The two officers arrested the blackmailers after catching them red handed - but then referred the illicit photograph to a senor colleague who reported it to Pemsel's bosses at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

When confronted Dr Pemsel told senior colleagues: 'I just woke up at about 6pm that evening after being on nights, I decided to give the person a call. I'm troubled that I didn't give the consequences a thought. It was spontaneous.'

Pemsel now faces being struck off for misconduct at a hearing which continues.

Coverage of his case at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester went in the Daily Mail, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and other newspapers and websites.

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