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Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 11:19 GMT
Shipman town gripped by 'terrible atmosphere'
Shipman's former surgery is still open
The community served by Dr Harold Shipman, convicted on Monday of 15 murders, has become gripped by a "terrible atmosphere", according to the area's MP.

Tom Pendry, the MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, says many families in the town have been divided by the activities of the serial killer.

With reports circulating that Dr Shipman's victims may have numbered in their dozens, horrified families are coming to terms with the possibility that their loved ones may have died under his lethal supervision.


I couldn't fault him, he was the best doctor, the finest doctor I have ever been to

Patient Dorothy Heywood
But while many, whose mothers, aunts or grandmothers were patients of Dr Shipman and died in suspicious circumstances, want their relatives' bodies exhumed, others within the same families say they should be allowed to rest in peace.

Much of the tension in the town is being focused on Dr Shipman's regular haunts.

At his surgery on Market Street in Hyde, which was open for business on Tuesday, patients were speaking of their shock.

Dorothy Heywood, 69, a patient of Dr Shipman's for 20 years said: "I couldn't fault him, he was the best doctor, the finest doctor I have ever been to.

"I was heartbroken when this happened, it was a total shock. He was very well respected here, the people loved him. This is very hard to come to terms with."
Primrose Shipman posed for photographers
At Dr Shipman's home, the curtains remained firmly drawn as members of his family made fleeting appearances before assembled reporters.

His wife Primrose, 52, emerged to pose for a photograph with her son David, aged 20.

She refused to answer any of the journalists' questions, replying simply: "It is no comment".

Earlier there had been a visit from a woman who had comforted Mrs Shipman during her husband's trial at Preston Crown Court.

And the doctor's youngest son, Sam, 17, also arrived at the house, dropping in briefly at the next door neighbour's address in Roe Cross Green.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Niall Dickson
"Basic checks were never made"
Find out more about the Shipman murders

Trial and reaction

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

01 Feb 00 | UK
31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
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