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Thursday, October 28, 1999 Published at 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK


UK

Patient 'died during tea with friend'

All the alleged victims were patients at Dr Shipman's surgery

A friend of one of Dr Harold Shipman's alleged victims told his murder trial how she went to the bathroom while having tea with her but returned to find the doctor in the house and her companion dead.

The Shipman Trial
Marion Hadfield waited in the kitchen while Dr Shipman spoke to alleged victim Marie West, 81, in the next room, Preston Crown Court heard.

Dr Shipman then walked in to the kitchen and, surprised to find anyone there, told Mrs Hadfield that Mrs West had collapsed.

The incident happened on 6 March 1995, at Knott Fold, Hyde, Greater Manchester.

Mrs Hadfield told the court: "I heard Marie speaking to a man so I assumed the doctor had arrived.

"I didn't want to intrude so I stayed in the kitchen. I heard them speaking for a while, then it went quiet, so I thought the doctor was going to leave.

Doctor was 'quite calm'

"I was wondering what was happening when the door opened and the doctor came into the kitchen.


[ image: Marie West: GP told friend she had collapsed]
Marie West: GP told friend she had collapsed
"When he saw me he said: 'I didn't know there was anyone here'.

"He looked surprised that someone was there but he was quite calm."

She said Dr Shipman told her he was looking for Mrs West's son Christopher because Mrs West had collapsed and died on him.

The doctor later telephoned Mr West to tell him that his mother had died of "massive stroke" and a heart attack, the jury heard.

But expert medical witness Dr John Grenville told the court that had Mrs West suddenly collapsed and died while Dr Shipman was there, as claimed, the doctor should have tried to resuscitate her.

He also said it would be difficult to establish the cause of death.

'A nice way to go'

The court earlier heard that the daughter of another alleged victim, Muriel Grimshaw, was told by Dr Shipman that "it was a nice way to go" after she had found her dead.


[ image: Dr Shipman denies 15 murders]
Dr Shipman denies 15 murders
Ann Brown told the jury that she found her mother lying on the bed, fully clothed, at her home in Berkley Crescent, Hyde, on 15 July, 1997.

Mrs Brown telephoned her family and then the doctor's surgery. Dr Shipman arrived 20 minutes later.

"He went to the foot of the bed where my mum lay and he just gave her a cursory glance. I expected him to touch her, but he didn't," she told the jury.

Dr Shipman told Mrs Brown that her mother died at around 5.30pm the previous evening.

But Dr Grenville said it would be impossible to give an exact cause or time of death.

Home office pathologist Dr John Rutherford told the court:" I don't think I can draw any other reasonable conclusion other than Mrs Grimshaw died from the toxicological affect of morphine."

Dr Shipman, 53, of Roe Cross Green, Mottram, Hyde, denies murdering Mrs Grimshaw and 14 other patients.

He also denies forging the will of one of his alleged victims.

The trial continues.



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