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Wednesday, October 20, 1999 Published at 20:09 GMT 21:09 UK


GP's alleged victim had 'good health'

Dr Shipman denies 15 counts of murder

A woman who GP Harold Shipman certified as dying of a coronary thrombosis did a two-hour hill walk only a fortnight before her death, the doctor's murder trial has heard.

The Shipman Trial
Winifred Mellor's son James told Preston Crown Court that his 73-year-old mother had no serious health problems.

The BBC's Stuart Flinders: "Neighbours said, he didn't seem to be bothered"
Mr Mellor said no one suffering from angina could have managed the walk over Werneth Law, a hill near her home in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

Mr Mellor, who had accompanied his mother on the walk along with his two sons, said the hill was "quite a mountain".

He told the court: "It was a Sunday afternoon. I have two young sons, teenage boys, and she plays with them. She was always an active lady and she would run. Not bad for 73."

Mother of five Mrs Mellor died at her home in May 1998.

[ image: Winifred Mellor: Described by her son as active with no major health problems]
Winifred Mellor: Described by her son as active with no major health problems
She was the third of the 15 alleged victims of 53-year-old Dr Shipman about whom evidence has been given in the trial.

Dr Shipman, of Roe Cross Green, Mottram, near Hyde, denies the murders and forging the £386,000 will of one of the women.

Mr Mellor said he only saw his mother infrequently, but she had no health difficulties apart from sinus problems, for which she had had an operation.

She had unsuccessfully tried to give up smoking, he said.

He said if his mother had had any major health problems, should would not have kept them secret from her family.

He had spoken to her on the telephone the night before her death.

'Lifetime ambition'

"She was fine," he said. "She was extremely excited. She told me that she had just put her name down with the local church to go the Holy Land.

"She was a devout Catholic and it was her lifelong ambition to go.

"She had never said anything about angina. She was extremely happy and really looking forward to the trip.

"She was rarely ill but she would always follow the treatment prescribed for her."

The trial, which is expected to last three months, continues.

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