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Tuesday, December 16, 1997 Published at 15:43 GMT


GP's alleged victim 'fine' before visit

Dr Shipman: Allegedly killed 15 patients with morphine

One of Dr Harold Shipman's 15 alleged murder victims was 'bright as a button' before he visited her at home for a cold, his trial has heard.

The Shipman Trial
Irene Turner, 67, asked Dr Shipman to visit her at Hyde, Greater Manchester.

Her son-in-law, Michael Woodruff, told Preston Crown Court that Mrs Turner had seemed in good spirits before the doctor's vist in July 1996.

He said: "Apart from having a heavy cold, she was fine. She felt perfectly all right but kept coughing."

Mr Woodruff was later contacted in the local pub by Mrs Turner's neighbour Sheila Ward and returned to his mother-in-law's house to find her dead.

He told the court: "The door was open and I went into the bedroom. There was Dr Shipman and Mrs Ward, and Mrs Turner was in bed.

'Cold and calculating'

"She just looked like she was asleep."

He said Dr Shipman's manner was "cold and calculating".

"Dr Shipman said that due to the number of tablets that she was on he would not need a post-mortem and that he would be able to issue a death certificate the next day."

Ms Ward said she had seen Dr Shipman in the street and he had asked her to go over to Mrs Turner's house and help pack a hospital overnight bag for her.

But he asked Ms Ward to wait for five minutes before going to the house. She also told the court that Dr Shipman said that he was going off to do some tests.

Dead on the bed

When Ms Ward went to the house, she found Mrs Turner dead on the bed.

"She was lying in the bed with the bedclothes halfway across her body. She looked beautiful I would say. I thought there was something wrong. I thought she was dead but I wasn't certain at that stage," said Ms Ward.

The court heard that Dr Shipman returned soon after and said to Ms Ward: "The lady is dead", adding it was due to diabetes.

The prosecution allege he had administered a fatal dose of morphine to Mrs Turner, his alleged 7th victim.

Dr Shipman, 53, of Mottram, near Hyde, denies murdering 15 of his women patients between March, 1995, and June last year. He also pleads not guilty to forging the 386,000 will of one of them.

He allegedly killed all the women with lethal doses of morphine.

The trial continues.