The former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman has admitted abusing his position by persuading an office worker to cover his tracks after he ordered banned testosterone, a medical tribunal has heard.
Freeman said that he had “compromised” Trish Meats, a manager at the supplement company Fit4Sport, by getting her to send an email saying the 30 sachets of Testogel had been sent in error and returned – when in reality he had destroyed them.
“I am going to say she agreed to do these things because you were a good client, a good customer and she felt obliged to do it for you,” said Simon Jackson QC, the counsel for the General Medical Council. “You used your position as a doctor and customer to write an email that you knew to be false.
“I did compromise Trish Meats. I asked her to say the order was her error,” Freeman replied.
Freeman has accepted 18 of the 22 charges against him from the GMC, including ordering banned Testogel in 2011 and lying to UK Anti-Doping. However he denies “knowing or believing it was to be used by an athlete to improve performance”.
On the third day of his testimony at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, Freeman also revealed how he had got rid of the Testogel, saying: “I cut open the sachets and washed them down the kitchen sink.”
However key discrepancies also emerged between the accounts of Freeman and his boss, Steve Peters, one of the biggest names in British sports medicine, over the aftermath of the Testogel order in May 2011.
Last year Peters had told the tribunal that he had pressed Freeman throughout the summer of 2011 to get an email from Fit4Sport saying the testosterone had been returned. However Freeman told the tribunal: “I don’t want in any way to disparage Mr Peters, but I don’t recall those requests.”
Freeman told the tribunal that he forwarded the email from Meats to Peters’s PA Jeff Battista asking him to “keep a copy in the ‘sticky email folder’ please”.
“Did you think sending it in that way satisfied the requirement of reassuring Dr Peters?” he was asked. “Yes,” came the reply.
Freeman also insisted that he had told Peters that he had destroyed the testosterone when Peters visited his house in 2017. “You told Mr Peters you’d destroyed it?” asked Jackson. “Absolutely,” replied Freeman.
“Dr Peters said he wasn’t told,” said Jackson. “The only thing you told him was that you had got it for [the British Cycling coach] Shane Sutton. So when he says that is he misremembering? Is he lying about that?”
“Possibly – I went there for a full and frank discussion, not half the story – which I should have done a long time before, and felt immense relief because I’d struggled with it for a while,” replied Freeman.
The tribunal, which is set to finish at the end of November, continues.