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The BBC's Kevin Bocquet reports
"Dr Shipman was asked what had happened to the drugs"
 real 28k

Thursday, 2 December, 1999, 20:53 GMT
Shipman quizzed over missing drugs
shipman Dr Harold Shipman denies murdering 15 patients

GP Harold Shipman has told his murder trial he cannot explain what happened to 1,000mg of diamorphine prescribed to a patient in 1994 but never administered.

And he said he could give "no sensible answer" why he had not destroyed four 10mg ampoules of diamorphine found in his home.

The Shipman Trial
He also said he had "no idea" why there were only 54 slow releasing morphine tablets left in a 60-tablet box also discovered in his home.

Dr Shipman was being cross-examined by prosecuting counsel Richard Henriques QC after a 15-minute adjournment because the accused complained of feeling unwell.

The 53-year-old doctor, who denies murdering 15 of his women patients and forging a will, has been giving evidence for nearly six days at Preston Crown Court.

Before the adjournment, the GP had told defence counsel Nicola Davies QC that four 10mg ampoules of diamorphine had been accidentally left at his home following a terminally ill patient's death.

Dr Shipman said the patient's widow had put the diamorphine her husband had been prescribed into the GP's bag, and the drugs were later moved to a bedroom at his house in Mottram, Greater Manchester.

Kathleen Grundy Kathleen Grundy: Shipman made "black joke" about cremation
He told the court he thought he had got rid of all the drugs.

But asked about the ampoules by Mr Henriques later, Dr Shipman said "obviously there were four left".

Mr Henriques asked: "Why destroy six and keep four?"

Dr Shipman said: "I can't think of a sensible answer."

He said he had given another patient a prescription for 30mg of diamorphine, but had not given her the drug.

He said: "I gave the lady the prescription. What she did with it afterwards is up to her."

I am not being funny. You can't dig up ashes
Dr Harold Shipman
The GP agreed that the normal dose for a "morphine naive" patient would be between five and seven-and-a-half milligrams, but said he had got into the "bad habit" of prescribing 30mg.

He agreed that amount would have killed a patient if administered quickly.

Dr Shipman was asked why he had allegedly told his former district nurse Marion Gilchrist that the only thing he had done wrong was not arranging for his final alleged victim, Kathleen Grundy, to be cremated.

'Done nothing wrong'

The GP said it was a "black joke", and when Mr Henriques asked what was funny about it, Dr Shipman replied: "I am not being funny. You can't dig up ashes."

The GP said he was not worried about the fact the body had been exhumed "because I had done nothing wrong".

Asked about a time when he told Mrs Gilchrist that there was a discrepancy in a patient's drug record because he had had to hand back some diamorphine he had borrowed, he admitted he had not borrowed the drug but found it on a mat behind his surgery door.

He said he had not notified the police, but used some of the drugs to treat a patient and destroyed the rest.

The trial was adjourned until Friday
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See also:
01 Dec 99 |  UK
Murder trial doctor weeps
30 Nov 99 |  UK
Patient 'died during chat with GP'
29 Nov 99 |  UK
GP 'decided not to resuscitate patient'
26 Nov 99 |  UK
Shipman admits back-dating records
25 Nov 99 |  UK
Shipman takes the stand
10 Nov 99 |  UK
Shipman defence attacks morphine theory
09 Nov 99 |  UK
GP patients 'had lethal morphine dose'
13 Oct 99 |  The Shipman trial
The prosecution case: 15 alleged victims
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