Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Stephen Cape
"Dr Shipman denied he administered the morphine"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 7 December, 1999, 16:25 GMT
Shipman accused of 'bare-faced lie'
shipman Dr Harold Shipman denies murdering 15 women patients

Dr Harold Shipman has been accused of lying to his receptionist following the death in his surgery of one of his alleged 15 victims.

The Shipman Trial
"You told her a bare-faced lie," Richard Henriques, QC, prosecuting, told the GP, who is spending his ninth day in the witness box at his trial at Preston Crown Court.

The jury heard that when Ivy Lomas, 53, died in an examination room at his surgery on 29 May, 1997, Dr Shipman told receptionist Carol Chapman he had been delayed because he was having technical problems with a piece of medical equipment.

Dr Shipman admitted: "It wasn't the truth."

'Breaking patient confidentiality'

But he explained: "There were three people in the waiting room, to stand there and say a patient was dead was not in the best interests of the patients who had been waiting to see me. And it was breaking patient confidentiality."

Dr Shipman, 53, of Mottram, near Hyde, Greater Manchester, denies murdering 15 women patients and also pleads not guilty to forging the will of one of them.

Mr Henriques asked: "Is it very right for a doctor to tell untruths to employees at surgery?"

Dr Shipman replied : "On occasions yes. And this was one occasion."

"I didn't administer anything to this lady and I had no idea how she got it in her body"
Dr Harold Shipman

The doctor also agreed that, although at the time he stated Mrs Lomas had died of a heart attack, in the light of the toxicology results she must have died from morphine poisoning.

Dr Shipman could not explain the presence of morphine in Mrs Lomas's system.

Mr Henriques said the only explanation was Dr Shipman's own guilt.

"I didn't administer anything to this lady and I had no idea how she got it in her body," the GP responded.

Dr Shipman admitted leaving Mrs Lomas's body to treat patients in another room.

Mr Henriques said: "To leave a deceased person without any attempt to contact the next of kin is a disgrace."

Dr Shipman said Mr Henriques was entitled to his opinion and went on to say there was no "terrible rush once the patient had died".

'Waiting for her to die'

Mr Henriques suggested the reason Dr Shipman saw other patients while Mrs Lomas was in the examination room was because he was waiting for her to die.

In the case of another alleged victim, Irene Turner, Mr Henriques said the doctor told her neighbour not to visit for a few minutes for the same reason.

He said when Dr Shipman was found looking at the Royal Doulton china in the case of another alleged victim Lizzie Adams he was also waiting for her to die, as he was in the case of another alleged victim, Marie West.

Dr Shipman denied that was the case.

He denied making up the fact that another alleged victim Marie Quinn, 67, requested a home visit on the day she died, 24 November 1997.

Conflicting accounts

Mr Henriques pointed out no telephone call was listed as being made from Mrs Quinn's home on her itemised bill.

Dr Shipman had earlier told the court he cancelled his open surgery that night, because no-one turned up, turned off his computer at 5.50pm and spent 25 in heavy traffic before arriving at Mrs Quinn's home.

He was then shown a document listing details of four patients who had attended his surgery up until 6.16pm that night.

Mr Henriques said: "It shows when they were dealt with and also that the story about some 20-25 minutes in a traffic jam and arriving at Mrs Quinn's at 6.15 as an outrageous lie.

"How could you have been treating these patients in your surgery and been on the road at that time?"

'Made up computer records'

Dr Shipman agreed it would have been impossible for the timings to be as he had earlier claimed.

Questioning the GP about the death of 76-year-old Muriel Grimshaw on 15 July 1997, Mr Henriques accused Dr Shipman of making up computer records to ensure there would be no post-mortem examination.

He said the doctor invented two dates in attempt to show he had seen the patient within 14 days of her death.

Dr Shipman told the court he did not have an alibi for the time Mrs Grimshaw died but he said he did not think he needed one because he had done nothing wrong.

"I did not kill this lady as you suggest," he told Mr Henriques.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
01 Dec 99 |  UK
Murder trial doctor weeps
02 Dec 99 |  UK
Shipman trial delayed by illness
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
13 Oct 99 |  The Shipman trial
The prosecution case: 15 alleged victims
Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories