"I got fifty to sixty calls and texts for three months."
A GP has been convicted after he posted a fake advert for gay sexual services with the details of his builder after the pair got into a dispute over money.
Croydon Magistrates Court heard that Dr Suthan Ulakanathan claimed that Steven Hay was a “cowboy” who ripped him off over a fence job and said he was forced to pay someone else to complete it.
He twice posted the gay escort adverts on a website called Vivastreet, selling sex acts “all night and day”.
Dr Ulakanathan added the builder’s name, mobile phone number and residential address in Croydon to the posts.
In both adverts, he wrote: “Young 30-year-old male, all types welcome, confidential, if free come to mine, will be in all day most days.”
Mr Hay said the pair fell out over a fence installation with the GP only paying £300 of the £600 job.
However, Dr Ulakanathan claimed that he and his family were threatened into paying an excessive amount.
Melanie Hardwick, prosecuting, said:
“The defendant employed Mr Hay, a roofer, back in late August, last year to do work on a fence.
“There was a dispute and the parties went their separate ways.
“Mr Hay received a phone call from someone saying that they got his phone number from Vivastreet, which advertises gay escorts and asked him if he wanted to meet up.”
The builder had been in the pub when the first text arrived.
Mr Hay said: “They texted: ‘hey you’, with a kiss and I thought it may be an ex-girlfriend.
“They proceeded to ring me and it was a man who said he found me on Vivastreet.
“I got fifty to sixty calls and texts for three months.”
Mr Hay added that the anxiety triggered his PTSD.
“I lost sleep and friends because I did not know who was doing it and missed work.”
On one occasion, a man responded to the advert, turning up at Mr Hay’s house and speaking to his mother.
Ms Hardwick said: “One person turned up at his house asking for sexual services and that made him anxious at a time his mother was at home shielding.”
The first advert was live for five days and the second was for two days.
On February 13, 2021, Dr Ulakanathan was arrested.
Ms Hardwick said: “He fully accepted setting up the two accounts and did not think the first was saved properly and did it a second time and then wanted to delete them but did not know how to.
“He said the complainant was a cowboy builder and the work had to be redone.”
Mr Hay admitted: “I messed him about a bit.”
He confirmed that he left the job because the GP did not want to pay more money.
Dr Ulakanathan, who works at Townhill Medical Practice in Caterham, was found guilty of harassment.
Dr Ulakanathan dismissed the posts as a “harmless prank”, telling the court:
“At the time I wanted to wind him up. I felt he had taken advantage of me and my family.”
Dr Ulakanathan said PTSD caused by the deaths of his father, uncle Sivananthan and cousin in quick succession from Covid-19 in 2020 was responsible for his behaviour.
He said the stress of running his medical practice under Covid conditions and seeing patients had increased his anxiety.
The GP knew about Vivastreet after searching for a pregnancy massage kit for his wife.
He claimed that he only posted twice because he did not know if the first post was successfully published.
Dr Ulakanathan said: “I put it on there and did not get any confirmation it had gone through.
“Several months later I went back and searched on Vivastreet using some of the words I used to make the advert and I could not see anything in the gay escorts section.
“I thought it hadn’t gone through, that it had not worked so I put it on again.”
Deputy District Judge Adrian Turner said:
“A lot of thought went into how you got your own back.
“This was not a sudden reaction. It was planned and calculated.”
Dr Ulakanathan, aged 37, of South Croydon, was fined £2,000, with £720 costs and ordered to pay a £190 victim surcharge.
He now faces a General Medical Council professional misconduct probe.
His lawyer, Susannah Stevens, said:
“There are proceedings before the GMC and whether he has got a job after this remains to be seen.
“It has already been published in full technicolour with his photograph. His name has been ruined. His neighbours and patients will read about this.
“It is utterly humiliating. He has been punished.”