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 
Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 16:53 GMT
Shipman account 'complete fabrication'
shipman Dr Harold Shipman denies murdering 15 women patients

Murder trial GP Harold Shipman has been accused of a "complete fabrication" in his version of the death of one of his 15 alleged victims.

The Shipman Trial
Richard Henriques QC, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court that the doctor had made up events surrounding the death of Marie West, 81.

Dr Shipman, 53, of Mottram, near Hyde, Greater Manchester, denies murdering Mrs West and 14 other of his women patients, and forging the 386,000 will of one of them.

Mrs West died at her home at Knott Fold, Hyde, while Dr Shipman was visiting her - unaware that her friend was in the next room.

Dr Shipman told the court: "There's no doubt in my mind that that lady had a sudden lethal stroke."

But Mr Henriques replied: ""Or a sudden lethal dose of diamorphine.

"This was the plainest possible case of a sudden death of which only you could know the cause."

'Failed to call 999'

During Dr Shipman's examination of Mrs West he got a positive result from a reflex test but choose not to call an ambulance or try to resuscitate her, Mr Henriques said.

Doctor denies killing Marie West
The jury heard Dr Shipman had written on Mrs West's cremation form that she had been a patient for 18 months but the medical records show she had attended the surgery since October 1992, three years before her death.

Mr Henriques said that as Shipman had recorded the time it had taken Mrs West to die as being 20 minutes there were at least 10 minutes in which he could have called for an ambulance.

He also said that Dr Shipman recorded Mrs West's friend, Mrs Hadfield, as present at the time of death but in fact she was in the next room.

Dr Shipman said: "You are interpreting this as who were present at death as being who was standing around the body."

The GP recorded two people as being present so that Mrs West's death was not queried and the cremation could take place, the prosecutor replied.

'GP lied to ensure cremation'

During his 10th day in the witness box, Dr Shipman was also accused of falsifying his account of the death of a second patient to ensure she was cremated.

Dr Shipman denied murdering 77-year-old Lizzie Adams, who also died while he was making a house call.

Lizzie Adams died in February 1997
The prosecution alleged Mrs Adams was not seriously ill on 28 February 1997, but died after the GP gave her a lethal dose of morphine.

Dr Shipman denied that a friend who had found him at Mrs Adams's house had felt a pulse on the dying pensioner.

He also denied falsely claiming to have called an ambulance for Mrs Adams.

But Dr Shipman put the wrong date of death on Mrs Adams's medical records, the court was told.

Mr Henriques said this was "part of creating a false medical history", and that the GP wanted to make it look as if he had arranged for Mrs Adams to be admitted to hospital one day and that she had died the following day.

Mr Henriques claimed Dr Shipman had tried to mislead those responsible for the cremation by saying a neighbour had given him information relating to Mrs Adams' death.

Earlier the prosecutor said cremation was "more likely to be granted if two people were present at the time of death".

Shipman 'stockpiled morphine'

Earlier in the hearing Dr Shipman denied stockpiling the drug morphine by prescribing it for patients who did not need it.

But he admitted he prescribed the drug to patient Frank Crompton, even though he was not suffering pain at the time.

Mr Crompton was prescribed 10 100mg ampoules of the drug in February 1995, but destroyed them, Dr Shipman told the jury.

However he had no idea what happened to a further 10 ampoules, prescribed the following month, which had been collected from the chemists, he said.

Richard Henriques QC, prosecuting, said there was no evidence that the morphine had ever been administered to Mr Crompton, a cancer sufferer.

He told the court: "All that diamorphine was part of your stockpiling."

Dr Shipman replied: "It was not part of anybody's stockpiling. I was not stockpiling any drugs."

The hearing was adjourned until Thursday.

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
07 Dec 99 |  UK
Shipman accused of 'bare-faced lie'
Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories