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Monday, 31 January, 2000, 19:55 GMT
Relatives' relief at verdict

Victims Just some of Shipman's victims


The daughter of one of Dr Harold Shipman's victims almost broke down in tears as she called for her mother to be remembered.

"We hope we can have space and time to remember my mum as she was - a happy, active, caring, energetic and loving person who we miss so much," said Angela Woodruff, whose mother Kathleen Grundy was murdered by Dr Shipman in 1998.

The Shipman murders
Standing outside Preston Crown Court after Dr Shipman was sentenced, Mrs Woodruff said: "We are pleased that the trial is over and relieved at the outcome, but it will never bring back my mum. The last 19 months have been very difficult for us, and all of us who knew my mum."

The son of Kathleen Wagstaff, who was also murdered by Mr Shipman, said his mother had trusted her doctor and he had "cynically and callously betrayed that trust".

Mrs Woodruff expressed admiration for the way Great Manchester Police had conducted the inquiry, showing compassion and bringing it to a successful conclusion.

Questions

But she said the case exposed some disturbing weaknesses in the monitoring and certification of death by GPs.

She questioned whether the certification of deaths should always involve a second doctor, whether doctors should be allowed to practise alone and the way dangerous drugs were prescribed.

Ms Woodruff said although the case was not representative of the conduct of all GPs, confidence in the profession needed to be maintained.

"If confidence is to be maintained it is important that the appropriate authorities look to see what lessons can be learned from this case," Ms Woodruff said.

Liz Hunter, who saw Shipman leave her friend, Jean Lilley's, home just minutes after he injected her with a lethal dose of heroin, said she was still coming to terms with the verdicts.

She said: "At the moment I am still trying to take it all in. The biggest thing I keep asking myself is why I didn't go down to stay with her."

Divorced Mrs Hunter had spent the morning with her 59-year-old friend and neighbour on the day of her death in April 1997.

She left her when Shipman was due to arrive and then found her dead moments after he left.

Mrs Hunter said: "Even if I had stayed with her and I had seen him give her something I wouldn't have known what it was, I'm not a doctor.

"I do know that if she had thought she was dying she would have asked me to stay with her."

Mrs Lilley's husband Albert was too upset to comment after the trial.

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See also:
31 Jan 00 |  Health
'Shipman will never happen again'
31 Jan 00 |  The Shipman files
How many did Shipman kill?
31 Jan 00 |  The Shipman files
The 15 victims
31 Jan 00 |  The Shipman files
Profile of a killer doctor
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