A 70-year-old Christian healer, who claimed to have “phantom hands” has been locked up to await a jail sentence after a jury convicted him of groping women patients.

George Boak was told by a judge that he had committed a serious breach of trust and acted with “utter depravity”.

Judge Jonathan Rose, adjourning for two weeks for a probation report and remanding Boak in custody, told him: “I am almost certain that there will be a significant prison sentence imposed upon you when you come back before me.” Boak, of Aysgarth Avenue, Lightcliffe, near Brighouse, sexually assaulted three women who had gone to him for treatment for chronic pain, including back pain.

Bradford Crown Court heard the assaults took place at his home, where the treatment sessions took place, while the women were alone. One of the victims was naked. Grey-haired Boak, denied two charges of sexual assault and one of indecent assault.

He admitted sexually touching one of the women, but said he thought she had invited him to do so. Boak denied touching the other two women inappropriately, suggesting that a healing phenomenon called ‘phantom hands’ could have meant they had felt him touching them when he had not.

But the jury of seven women and five men rejected his defence, unanimously convicting him of all three charges after a little more than two hours deliberation after a three-day trial.

Boak, who remained seated as the verdicts were returned, stared back at the jury and did not react.

Two of his victims, who had given evidence during the trial, were in court to hear the verdicts and tearfully hugged their husbands and a police officer outside the courtroom.

Judge Rose, who described the women as “eminently respectable,” told Boak: “You have been convicted, on overwhelming evidence, of behaviour that can be described as a serious breach of trust, and utter depravity. There will be a prison sentence.”

The judge said he regarded the women as vulnerable. “They placed trust in you because they laid on a bed and allowed you to place your hands on and over them. I think no greater trust could be placed in a man by a woman.”

Judge Rose agreed to adjourn for a probation report after Boak’s barrister, Michele Stuart-Lofthouse, asked for time for arrangements to be made for the care of his wife, who has health issues. But the judge added: “I don’t take the view that the report is likely to assist a great deal in determining the sentence.”