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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 February, 2004, 07:52 GMT
Serial killer Shipman 'cremated'
Harold Shipman
Harold Shipman hanged himself in his prison cell
Killer doctor Harold Shipman has been secretly cremated, according to newspaper reports.

The funeral was held in an undisclosed location in Yorkshire and attended only by his wife Primrose, 54, and his four children, the Daily Mirror reported.

The 57-year-old GP, who is believed to have murdered at least 215 of his patients, was found hanged in his cell at Wakefield Prison on 13 January.

The paper said the cremation took place outside normal hours to keep it secret.

This is a matter for the family
Prison Service
The Sun newspaper said Mrs Shipman had been advised not to bury her husband in case the grave was attacked.

The funeral was reportedly held last Tuesday after his body was removed from a Sheffield mortuary and taken to a crematorium.

His body had been released to his family by the West Yorkshire coroner at an inquest last month when a cremation order and an interim death certificate were issued.

'Family matter'

The Prison Service said it had not sent a representative to the ceremony and that it had no involvement in funeral arrangements.

A spokesman said: "It's really not something the Prison Service would have any control over. He died and we released his body to the coroner.

"This is a matter for the family."

Shipman hanged himself in his cell on the eve of his 58th birthday by tying bed sheets to the window bars of his cell.

He had been serving 15 life sentences for 15 murders, and four years for forging a will.

In 2002 Home Secretary David Blunkett ruled he should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Fatal doses

Dame Janet Smith, who chairs the continuing inquiry into his killings, reported in 2002 that she believed Shipman had killed 215 patients, mostly while working at his GP practice in Hyde, Greater Manchester, and there was a "real suspicion" over another 45.

At least 215, possibly many more
Shipman convicted of murdering 15
Oldest victim - Ann Cooper, 93, of Hyde, Greater Manchester
Youngest victim - Peter Lewis, 41, of Briardene, Denton
The GP, who killed most of his victims by injecting them with fatal doses of diamorphine, was on suicide watch at two other prisons earlier in his sentence, but not at Wakefield since his arrival on 18 June last year.

Prisons ombudsman Stephen Shaw has launched an investigation into Shipman's death and a separate police inquiry is being carried out.

The GP's death provoked anger among some victims' relatives, including Jane Ashton-Hibbert, whose grandmother Hilda was unlawfully killed by Shipman.

She told BBC News she was angry he had been allowed to die because it seemed like an "easy way out" for him.


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