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Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 05:56 GMT
Shipman jailers given leave

Shipman could have murdered 150 people

Two brothers working as warders at the jail where Harold Shipman has been sent are on compassionate leave because they are the sons of one of his suspected victims.

The Shipman murders
The jailers are on leave from Manchester prison - better known as Strangeways - where the family doctor is undergoing assessment prior to being moved to a jail for prisoners serving life sentences.

Shipman was given 15 life sentences by a judge at Preston Crown Court on Monday but he is suspected of up to 146 other murders.

Greater Manchester police have confirmed that 10 further cases have been brought to their attention since Monday.

As well as the 15 patients he was convicted on Monday of killing, police are now looking at the files of 131 of his former patients in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

Mother on the list

These include 23 cases which the Crown Prosecution Service are actively considering bringing charges on.

The warders' elderly mother is on the list of 131 suspected victims.

Shipman was held on remand at Manchester prison before the trial and during that period the warders are believed to have been given duties in different parts of the jail.

Manchester prison Shipman is expected to leave Manchester within weeks
A Prison Service spokesman said the two warders had been given compassionate leave now Shipman had been convicted.

He said: "It is obviously difficult for them. Their mother was one of the cases that has been investigated but not proven.

"We recognised that it was going to be difficult for them to carry out duties that brought them into contact with Dr Shipman."

High-security jail

He denied the decision to remove the two warders would hasten Shipman's transfer to another prison, which is expected to take several weeks.

It seems the most likely destination for Shipman is Wakefield prison, which already houses notorious killers such as Michael Sams, Robert Black and "Black Panther" Donald Neilson.

The families and friends of Shipman's victims joined together in grief for a special prayer service in Hyde on Tuesday evening.

Hundreds arrived at St George's Church in the town for the ecumenical service.

Dr John Harries, curate of St George's Church, said he wanted to show people they could put their trust in God.

He said: "In this great darkness, and it is hard to imagine greater darkness, Christ pierces through and brings hope, truth and healing."

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See also:
01 Feb 00 |  UK
Hundreds join prayers for Shipman victims
01 Feb 00 |  UK
Shipman inquiry to examine doctors
01 Feb 00 |  UK
Shipman town gripped by 'terrible atmosphere'
31 Jan 00 |  UK
Shipman jailed for 15 murders
31 Jan 00 |  UK
Relatives' relief at verdict

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