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Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 17:39 GMT
Shipman launches appeal
Harold Shipman:
Harold Shipman: Denied charges during the trial
The families of some of Harold Shipman's victims say his decision to appeal against his 15 murder convictions is adding to their distress.

Shipman was jailed for life last month at Preston Crown Court.

The court confirmed on Tuesday that appeal papers had been received within the past week.

A spokesman said the documents would be prepared and sent to the Court of Appeal in London.

"This is just prolonging the agony and the grief," said Peter Wagstaff, whose mother Kathleen died at the hands of Shipman.
This is just prolonging the agony and the grief. I find it very difficult to believe there are grounds for an appeal

Peter Wagstaff
"For a trial that went on for three-and-a-half months with 180 witnesses I find it very difficult to believe there are grounds for an appeal."

Mr Wagstaff, who speaks on behalf of a group of relatives, added: "I hope that they don't hold up the inquiry that we are asking for - a full public inquiry."

Some families have already contacted Victim Support about the news.

The charity said many relatives had expected the appeal, but that did not make it any easier.

'Devastated'

"I have already had a few of the families coming to see me," said Helen Ogborn of the charity's Thameside branch.

"When others find out I think they are going to be quite devastated that he is appealing.

"This just puts him back in the limelight."

Shipman denied murdering the women, and forging the will of his last victim, Kathleen Grundy, whose death sparked the murder inquiry.

The jury at his trial reached unanimous guilty verdicts after six days of deliberations.
Kathleen Grundy
Kathleen Grundy: Her death started inquiry
The judge who sentenced Shipman said he would die in prison.

Mr Justice Thayne Forbes told him: "Finally you have been brought to justice for your wicked, wicked crimes.

"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."

The fifteen women Shipman was found guilty of murdering were Marie West, Irene Turner, Lizzie Adams, Jean Lilley, Ivy Lomas, Muriel Grimshaw, Marie Quinn, Kathleen Wagstaff, Bianka Pomfret, Norah Nuttall, Pamela Hillier, Joan Melia, Maureen Ward, Winifred Mellor, and Kathleen Grundy.

Evidence

Most were elderly women who lived alone. They were all patients of Shipman, and died between 1995 and 1998.

Since the trial the Crown Prosecution Service has said it believes there is enough evidence against Shipman to proceed with another 23 murder charges.

However, it was decided that no further charges would be brought.

Detectives involved in the case have said they have investigated a total of 175 deaths.

Shipman was struck off the UK's general medical register earlier this month.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Joshua Rozenberg
"It would be a suprise if he hadn't challenged his conviction"
Find out more about the Shipman murders

Trial and reaction

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

11 Feb 00 | Health
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