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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
A town scarred by Shipman
Father Denis Maher
Father Denis Maher calls Shipman 'evil'
The feeling of disbelief over Harold Shipman's catalogue of killings has been replaced by anger and a feeling of betrayal in the town of Hyde.

There are few people who do not know someone directly affected by his crimes and the revelation that he killed 215 of his patients.

Local priest Father Denis Maher said: "The shock and pain of finding out your loved one has been a victim is worse than the first grief.

"I have never said this before, but almost as soon as I walked into this parish six years ago, I knew of Dr Shipman.


Hyde was linked to the Moors Murders, and now Shipman but it isn't that sort of town

'Jenny' from Hyde

"People thought he was a wonderful doctor, and that he had an aura about him.

"I have spoken to people who have just been informed that their relatives were among his victims and I now believe he is a lot more evil than I ever thought.

"He was extremely devious and calculating.

"What he has done to this community and town, to people who put their absolute trust in him, is beyond belief."

'So popular'

One 67-year-old woman, who has lived in Hyde all her life, said people were expecting a shocking number of victims to be revealed.

"I think people here always thought that the figures would be higher," she said.

"I was a patient of his for a time. I never liked him, but that was unusual because he was so popular and everyone thought he was a marvellous doctor."


Now when I am asked where I've come from, I just say 'East Manchester'

Father Denis Maher
The inquiry's findings has brought Hyde into the headlines again, making many of those living there feel uncomfortable.

Jenny, a stallholder on Hyde's market, says that people feel disappointed that their town was linked to the Moors Murders, and now Shipman.

"It's a shame, because it isn't that sort of town.

"The numbers will open a few wounds, but I know people involved, and in a way it will settle their minds to know one way or another whether their relatives were among his victims.

"There is an initial gasp over the figures, but it was a greater shock when it all first came to light."

There is now a feeling in the town that it will forever be blighted by Shipman's crimes.

Father Maher said: "When I travel with my work and people ask where my parish is, I used to say Hyde, near Manchester.

"But people were always recognising the name, after Shipman.

"Now when I am asked where I've come from, I just say 'East Manchester'. "

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"The former GP will remain in prison for the rest of his life"
Jude Lang, daughter of one of Shipman's victims
"I couldn't believe he would do something like that. We trusted him"
Ann Alexander, solicitor for victims' families
"There's still a great amount of raw grief out there"

Key stories

The human cost

Background

FROM THE ARCHIVE

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO

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