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Crime Correspondent Stephen Cape
"He's expected to finish some time next Wednesday or Thursday"
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Monday, 10 January, 2000, 12:30 GMT
Shipman case 'tragic and disturbing'

Dr Shipman denies murdering 15 women

The judge in the trial of a GP accused of killing 15 female patients and forging the will of one of them has begun summing up.

The Shipman Trial
Mr Justice Forbes told the jury at Preston Crown Court that the case was "tragic and deeply disturbing".

He said the jury had to put aside feelings and emotions they may have felt while hearing the evidence.

"Inevitably in the course of this case you will have heard evidence which may have aroused feelings of anger, strong disapproval, disgust, profound dismay or deep sympathy," he said.

"You must put all such feelings or emotions firmly to one side."

Kathleen Grundy: Shipman is accused of forging her will
Dr Shipman, 53, of Mottram, near Hyde, Greater Manchester, has pleaded not guilty to killing all the women between March 1995 and July last year.

He also denies forging the 386,000 will of one of his alleged victims, 81-year-old Kathleen Grundy.

The summing-up of the lengthy trial, which has lasted 41 days, is expected to last for at least six days, after which the jury will retire to consider its verdict.

The judge told the jurors that when considering the evidence of witnesses they should make allowances for the strain of giving evidence in court.

"You must of course apply the same fair standards to the evidence given by Dr Shipman," he said.

"Do not hold it against him that he came to give evidence to you from the dock. Make every possible allowance for the strain Dr Shipman must have been under giving his evidence.

"It cannot be easy giving evidence in circumstances in which you face charges as serious as those faced by Dr Shipman in this trial."

Morphine question

The judge said that it was the prosecution case that Dr Shipman murdered the women by the deliberate injection of morphine or diamorphine, and that it was he who had forged Mrs Grundy's will and sent it to a local firm of solicitors.

"It is Dr Shipman's case that he did not forge Mrs Grundy's will and did not administer morphine or diamorphine, whether by injection or otherwise to any of the alleged victims."

Marie Quinn: Shipman accepts she died of morphine toxicity
The judge said that Dr Shipman accepted in the light of pathological evidence that Mrs Grundy, Ivy Lomas and Marie Quinn had died of morphine toxicity.

"Except to say the morphine was not administered by him, Dr Shipman has told you he does not know how the fatal dose was administered

"And at the time he completed the death certificate he had honestly believed the victim had died from the natural cause or causes he had certified on the death certificate."

He said Dr Shipman did not accept that the other deaths were caused by morphine.

'Huge publicity'

The judge told the jury that the case continued to attract a great deal of publicity.

"You must put out of your mind anything you may have seen, read or heard outside this court about this case or its background."

He said the jury had heard evidence about Dr Shipman's possession of diamorphine since 1993 which suggested that he had committed offences under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.

The evidence was relevant to whether Dr Shipman had sufficient quantities of diamorphine available to him to administer fatal injections.

It was Dr Shipman's case that he had not accumulated a stockpile of the drug.

The judge said: "If you do come to the conclusion he has committed the offence of being in unlawful possession of diamorphine you must not assume he is therefore guilty of any of the offences with which he is charged."

He said that the matter was relevant, however, to the jury's consideration as to whether Dr Shipman had a sufficient stock of diamorphine to carry out the alleged murders.

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See also:
06 Jan 00 |  UK
Shipman had 'no motive'
05 Jan 00 |  UK
Shipman 'abused status to kill'
14 Dec 99 |  The Shipman trial
The trial of Dr Harold Shipman
07 Jan 00 |  UK
'No case' against Shipman
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