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Friday, October 15, 1999 Published at 20:49 GMT 21:49 UK


GP's fingerprint on 'forged' will

Harold Shipman denies 15 counts of murder

A widow's signature on a will, leaving her £386,000 estate to Manchester doctor Harold Shipman, was a "poor, crude forgery", an expert told his murder trial on Friday.

The document that arrived unexpectedly at a solicitor's office, on the day of 81-year-old Kathleen Grundy's death, also carried the fingerprint of Dr Shipman in the bottom left-hand corner, the jury at Preston Crown Court heard.

The Shipman Trial
Handwriting expert Michael Allen told the fifth day of the GP's trial that he had compared the signatures, on what was supposed to be Kathleen Grundy's will and an accompanying letter, with specimens of her signature.

"Taking the evidence into account my opinion is that the two signatures were not written by Kathleen Grundy," said Mr Allen.

"Rather they are poor, crude simulations, forgeries, of her signature, written by some other person."

[ image: Witness Paul Spencer
Witness Paul Spencer "was tricked"
Earlier on Friday fingerprint expert Andrew Watson told Preston Crown Court a print matching that of the little finger on the GP's left hand was found on Mrs Grundy's will.

Dr Shipman is accused of murdering the 81-year-old, wealthy widow and forging her will, at his surgery in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

The jury has heard that the will, bequeathing £386,000, arrived unannounced and unexpected at a firm of solicitors in Hyde on the day Mrs Grundy died.

Andrew Watson told the jury on Friday there were no prints matching those of Mrs Grundy on the will.

But he had "no doubt whatsoever" that the fingerprint on the bottom left-hand corner was that of Dr Shipman.

Dr Shipman, 53, of Roe Cross Green, Mottram near Hyde, denies murdering Mrs Grundy in June last year and forging the will.

He also pleads not guilty to the murders of 14 other women patients between March 1995 and June last year.

Patients witnessed 'will'

Earlier, two of the doctor's patients told how they were summoned from his waiting room and asked to witness a document in his surgery.

Mrs Grundy was sitting in the surgery when Paul Spencer and Claire Hutchinson signed a document with the signature "K Grundy" on it.

The BBC's Stephen Cape: "Throughout the trial Dr Shipman has been making copious notes"
Mr Spencer said he assumed he was signing a medical form but Mrs Hutchinson said she saw the words Last Will and Testament on a document.

However, when he was shown the will supposed to have come from Mrs Grundy, Mr Spencer told the jury it was not his signature, although the details of his address and occupation were correct.

Mrs Hutchinson said she could not be sure whether the signature on the document was hers, but the address was not fully correct.

Mrs Hutchinson then told the jury that she had received a visit from Mrs Grundy's daughter, Angela Woodruff, some time in July last year.

"I went to see Dr Shipman to say that we had this lady in our house and that she was very upset and that there seemed to be some question about whatever it was that we had signed," she told the court.

"Dr Shipman apologised and said that he was very sorry that we had been bothered at our home."

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

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14 Oct 99†|†UK
Will received 'hours before death'

12 Oct 99†|†The Shipman trial
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