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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 03:18 GMT
Shipman interview rebroadcast
Dr Harold Shipman
GP Harold Shipman was convicted of 15 murders
Serial killer Harold Shipman spoke publicly about the benefits of care in the community during a television interview 18 years before he was jailed for murdering 15 of his patients.

Shipman, believed to be responsible for killing hundreds more patients during home visits, spoke enthusiastically about keeping people in the community rather than committing them to hospitals during a World in Action interview in 1982.

Relatives of his victims have the opportunity to see the interview broadcast again on Thursday night on ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald.

The footage of Shipman, now 55, features an interview with the GP talking about Brindle House, a community centre in Hyde, Greater Manchester, which had links with a number of his victims.

Shipman says: "In the past, if a patient had got a mental illness that required admission to hospital, the patient was formally admitted, undressed and placed in bed and was treated as though they had a physical illness.

Breaking down barriers

"A consultant would come round - often in a white coat - and there was an invisible barrier between the patient and the doctor."

But Shipman said places like Brindle House had gone a long way towards breaking down these barriers.


He certainly comes over as being very arrogant

Dr John Grenville
"If you have got a mental illness such as depression, to have you admitted to a hospital is adding another factor towards that depression," he said.

"If you can stay in the community, receive your treatment in the community with your family around you and your friends, then this all adds to the speed of recovery from the illness."

Dr John Grenville, who was called as an expert witness for the prosecution during Shipman's trial at Preston Crown Court, told the news programme that Shipman came across as being "very arrogant".

He added: "I'm sure that the only way he could have carried this off and indeed the only way that he could get through his trial was by thinking he was invincible."

Confident individual

Detective Chief Superintendent Bernard Postles, who leads the continuing inquiry into Shipman's killings said the former doctor was a confident individual, able to put together a story quite coherently.

"He knew all about the treatment that he was talking about during the course of the programme and he was comfortable with his subject matter so I don't find it surprising at all that he put himself forward to take part in that interview."

The programme also interviews Elaine Oswald, who describes how Shipman tried to kill her by prescribing a synthetic morphine for a stomach-ache when she was his patient in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, in 1974.

Ms Oswald, who was 25 at the time, describes the newly-qualified doctor as "like the doctors on television" with magnetically caring eyes.

Investigations continue in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire into Shipman's activities after a Department of Health report found he may have murdered as many as 300 people.

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28 Dec 00 | Health
Male Shipman 'victim' named
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