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Tuesday, October 12, 1999 Published at 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK


GP patient 'left dead in surgery'

Dr Shipman denies 15 counts of murder

An alleged victim of Dr Harold Shipman was left dead in an examination room in his surgery while he treated three other patients, a jury has heard.

The BBC's Stephen Cape:The prosecution will finish outlining its case on Wednesday
The death of widow Ivy Lomas was described by the prosecution as it outlined how it says Dr Shipman murdered 15 women between March 1995 and June last year.

A jury has heard allegations that all were killed by lethal doses of morphine administered by Dr Shipman, of Mottram, near Hyde.

Richard Henriques, QC, for the prosecution, said the GP later told a police officer he regarded Mrs Lomas, a regular visitor to his surgery in Hyde, Greater Manchester, as a "nuisance".

The Shipman Trial
Mr Henriques said that Dr Shipman, who denies 15 murder charges, had made no mention to his receptionist, Carol Chapman, that Mrs Lomas had died while he saw the other patients.

He later told her he had tried to revive Mrs Lomas, of Thornley Street, Hyde.

But afterwards, when a police officer asked him what he had done following Mrs Lomas' death, the GP had replied "nothing", said Mr Henriques.

Caught at the scene

Mr Henriques also told the jury that Dr Shipman was "caught at the scene" after the death of another of his alleged victims, Jean Lilley.

[ image: Consultations: All the women saw Dr Shipman on day of death]
Consultations: All the women saw Dr Shipman on day of death
Mr Henriques said Mrs Lilley's husband had persuaded her to have a home visit from the doctor because she was suffering from a cold.

As neighbour Elizabeth Hunter came down from the upstairs flat she saw Dr Shipman near the front door, walking towards his car.

She went into Mrs Lilley's flat to find her sitting motionless and blue around the lips, said Mr Henriques.

Mrs Hunter unsuccessfully tried mouth to mouth resuscitation and rang for an ambulance.

Computer records 'altered'

Mr Henriques told the court that Dr Shipman had altered computer records to avoid a post mortem examination on another alleged victim, 76-year-old Muriel Grimshaw.

Mrs Grimshaw, who had been in good health, was found dead, fully dressed, on her bed at her home in Barclay Crescent, Hyde, by her daughter.

Dr Shipman was called to the scene, but "made no bodily examination of the deceased whatsoever", said Mr Henriques.

But the doctor issued a death certificate saying she had died from a stroke and hypertension - "it was a nice way to go", he added.

He also made up computer entries to suggest he had seen Mrs Grimshaw twice in the weeks before she died, intending to create a false history to support the cause of death, said the QC.

When Mrs Grimshaw's body was exhumed, tests showed she died of morphine poisoning.

Six women cremated

The jury heard that six of the murder counts were related to women patients who were cremated.

Despite the unavailability of toxicological or post mortem evidence, the prosecution suggested Dr Shipman murdered each one of them.

In four cases he was present at or about the times of their deaths, in two cases he made numerous computer entries before their bodies were discovered to create false medical histories.

In each of the six cases he failed to call an ambulance or attempt resuscitation.

Under surveillance

Dr Shipman was also accused of killing Irene Turner, 67. He said she had died from her diabetes, but a later examination found morphine in her thigh.

On the day of her death a neighbour, Sheila Ward, spotted him at the scene. The doctor came round to see her, and asked her to pack some clothes for Mrs Turner who he said needed to go to hospital.

But Mr Henriques told the court: "Dr Shipman may well have spotted Sheila Ward and believed he was being kept under observation, as a consequence of which he sought to give his then presence at Mrs Turner's an innocent explanation."

The trial continues. It is expected to last at least three months.

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