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The BBC's Sian Williams reports from Hyde
"Everyone's been touched by what Dr Shipman has done"
 real 28k

Monday, 31 January, 2000, 19:17 GMT
Hyde - a community in shock

Surgery The Hyde surgery where Shipman practised

The people of Hyde have been trying to come to terms with Shipman's crimes. The GP was the family doctor of one in 10 people in the town and many are telling of their sense of betrayal.

The family priest for one of Shipman's victims has said he was horrified by the way the doctor treated her grieving relatives.

Father Denis Maher, priest for Winifred Mellor, 73, said he saw Shipman break the news of her death to her family.

"I was appalled by his attitude - he breezed past me and immediately attacked the family, and said 'You know your mother had a heart condition, don't you.'"

Father Maher said the GP then bluntly said: "She wouldn't accept treatment or go to the hospital - do you have an undertaker?"

The priest said Shipman told him there would be no problem with the death certificate.

The community of Hyde had been "in shock for some time", he added, saying it had been palpable during the last week.

Local florists said many people were so sure Shipman had not committed the murders they had taken several orders for flowers to be delivered on the GP's acquittal.

The area's MP, Tom Pendry, who has called for an inquiry into the regulations surrounding certification of deaths, said during the trial he had received letters of support for Dr Shipman from constituents, convinced of his innocence.

'Hard to take on board'

Helen Ogden from the Tameside branch of Victim Support said staff had taken more than 200 calls since the verdict was announced.

Most were questioning how such crimes could happen in their local community.

"It's such a small place that it's quite hard for people to take on board that it's happened, and in such large numbers as well" she said.

Local vicar Graham Osgood was himself a patient of Dr Shipman's for 20 years. He said the community is hurt and bewildered:

"People are certainly feeling angry, feeling betrayed - obviously asking questions and there are no easy answers." he said.

The GP was "universally respected", he added.

'Affable colleague'

Jeff Noysey, Shipman's colleague for nine years, said: "It comes as a shock for a man who was once an admired and respected member of the community, to be guilty of such crimes."

He described him as an "affable colleague who felt he had very high standards in medicine".

"There cannot be many families in Hyde that have not been touched by this in some way." he said.

Friend of Dr Shipman Len Fallows said: "I am appalled, dismayed, disgusted. I have raised 19,200 for medical equipment in the past few years for his surgery to save lives - during this time he was taking lives."

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31 Jan 00 |  UK
Shipman jailed for 15 murders
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