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Monday, 31 January, 2000, 19:22 GMT
Shipman jailed for 15 murders
Dr Harold Shipman denied all the charges
Family GP Harold Shipman has been jailed for life for murdering 15 patients, as he goes down in history as the UK's biggest convicted serial killer.

He was also found guilty of forging the will of Kathleen Grundy, one of his patients.

The 54-year-old GP, from Hyde, Greater Manchester, was given 15 life sentences to run concurrently for the murders, and four years for the forgery. The jury reached its verdict after six days' deliberation.

Shipman had denied all the charges.

Finally you have been brought to justice for your wicked, wicked crimes

Mr Justice Forbes
Mr Justice Thayne Forbes revealed eight previous convictions held by the GP, including drug abuse of pethadine in 1976. He was given treatment and no action was taken.

"Finally you have been brought to justice for your wicked, wicked crimes," the High Court judge said. "You abused the trust of these victims - you were, after all, their doctor.

"You used a calculating and cold-blooded perversion of your medical skills. You have shown no remorse.

"In your case life must mean life. You must spend the remainder of your days in prison."
Kathleen Grundy: Shipman forged her will before killing her
It is believed police have investigated a total of 136 Shipman patients' deaths, including the 15 murders, and that they are ready to proceed with another 23 cases.

The CPS said it would proceed with the investigations if the families of the deceased permitted it.

Coroner John Pollard said: "It would not be unreasonable to say a figure of 150 would be a realistic, possible estimate."

Marie West, Irene Turner, Lizzie Adams, Jean Lilley, Ivy Lomas, Muriel Grimshaw, Marie Quinn, Kathleen Wagstaff, Bianka Pomfret, Norah Nuttall, Pamela Hillier, Maureen Ward, Winifred Mellor, and Kathleen Grundy were all patients of Dr Shipman who died between 1995 and 1998.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn said: "Our sympathies tonight are with the very many families who have been the victims of these dreadful crimes.

"As an individual, Harold Shipman betrayed the trust of his patients and also betrayed the professionalism of this country's family doctors.

"I will be making a statement to the House of Commons tomorrow but tonight all of our thoughts should be with the victims and the relatives."
Shipman's medical practice won an award for charity work
The trial, which lasted more than three months, was one of the largest staged in the UK, with more than 120 witnesses called to give evidence.

The prosecution alleged that the 15 women patients were killed by lethal doses of diamorphine administered by the doctor, and that he gained 386,000 by forging the will of 81-year-old Mrs Grundy.

The defence said the case against the doctor was based solely on "unreliable and unsafe" toxicological evidence gathered after the bodies of nine of the women were exhumed and traces of diamorphine found in each of them.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Stephen Cape
"He attempted to lie himself out of trouble"
The BBC's Social Affairs Editor Niall Dickson
"There will now be a government enquiry"
Nicholas Witchell reports for BBC News
"Harold Frederick Shipman. Confirmed now as a mass murderer"
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
He had become fascinated with drugs
Find out more about the Shipman murders

Trial and reaction

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
31 Jan 00 | Health
31 Jan 00 | Health
31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
31 Jan 00 | Health
31 Jan 00 | UK
31 Jan 00 | UK
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


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