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Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK


GP 'backdated medical records'

Dr Shipman denies 15 counts of murder

The jury in the trial of a doctor accused of killing 15 of his patients has been told he created false computerised medical histories so that no-one would be surprised by the deaths.

And it heard that Dr Harold Shipman said of one of his alleged victims: "The only thing I did wrong was not having her cremated. If I had had her cremated I wouldn't have this trouble."

The Shipman Trial
Preston Crown Court heard that Dr Shipman made a note that the alleged victim, Kathleen Grundy, was ill - 12 months after she died.

The BBC's Stephen Cape: "The pathologist said he found no sign of disease"
Detective Sergeant John Ashley said Dr Shipman dated Mrs Grundy's file 23 June 1997, and reported she was feeling tired and depressed and wrote "Old?".

But the computer system's clock showed the entry was actually made on 25 June 1998 - the day after the wealthy 81-year-old widow died.

Crime Correspondent Kevin Bocquet reports from Preston Crown Court
Dr Shipman, who practised in Hyde, Greater Manchester, is alleged to have murdered Mrs Grundy at her home in the town with a lethal dose of morphine.

The 53-year-old GP of Roe Cross Green, Mottram near Hyde, pleads not guilty to killing Mrs Grundy and forging her will. She left £386,000.

He also denies the murders of 14 other women patients between March 1995 and June last year.

[ image: Kathleen Grundy: Backdated medical records]
Kathleen Grundy: Backdated medical records
The trial has heard that Dr Shipman had seen Mrs Grundy on the morning of her death at her home in Joel Lane. She was found dead later in the day, lying on the sofa in her living room.

The doctor diagnosed a coronary thrombosis and wrote "old age" as the cause of death on her death certificate.

'I would have me guilty'

A district nurse told the court how Dr Shipman spoke to her about Mrs Grundy's death shortly before he was arrested.

Marion Gilchrist said he was obviously upset when he told her in his surgery: "On the evidence they have I would have me guilty."

[ image: Dr Shipman's surgery in Hyde]
Dr Shipman's surgery in Hyde
With what she took to be black humour, the doctor added: "The only thing I did wrong was not having her cremated. If I had had her cremated I wouldn't have this trouble."

Mrs Gilchrist said that the doctor had also told her that Mrs Grundy had come to see him in his surgery with a view to having him witness her will.

Dr Shipman told her that he had asked Mrs Grundy if he was to be a beneficiary and had then got two people waiting in the surgery to witness the document.

"He said Mrs Grundy's daughter was a lawyer and that she had seemed happy with the will and that it had taken her six weeks to contest it," said Mrs Gilchrist.

The doctor had told her that when Mrs Grundy told him he was to be a beneficiary it would probably be in the form of a donation to the patients' fund for the surgery.

Widow 'borrowed typewriter'

Dr Shipman's practice nurse Gillian Morgan earlier told the jury that she sometimes created medical records on the computer the day after an appointment, as there was not always time in her busy schedule.

She also said she had seen the typewriter, previously exhibited as the one used to write the allegedly forged will and letters, at the surgery on Market Street, Hyde.

A receptionist at Dr Shipman's surgery, Judith Cocker, said she remembered Mrs Grundy returning a typewriter that she had borrowed from the surgery.

The trial was told last week that it was 90% certain that the allegedly forged will of Mrs Grundy had been written on a Brother portable typewriter recovered from the premises.

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