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Last Updated: Monday, 31 October 2005, 19:26 GMT
'GP gave cancer man injections'
Dr Howard Martin
Dr Howard Martin arrives at court for his trial for murder
A family GP gave a cancer sufferer three morphine injections instead of allowing his family to admit him to hospital, a court has heard.

Dr Howard Martin, 71, is accused of murdering Frank Moss, 59, Stanley Weldon and Harry Gittins, both 74, with morphine overdose injections.

Mr Gittins' widow said he died shortly after a visit by the doctor.

Dr Martin, who practised in Newton Aycliffe, but now lives in Penmaenmawr, Conwy, north Wales, denies murder.

Widow Eileen Gittins told Teesside Crown Court that Dr Martin was looking after her husband who was in the aftermath of gruelling chemotherapy last January.

Dr Martin said 'He is my patient, I'll look after him, he doesn't need to be in hospital'
Eileen Gittins
The 74-year-old was ready to return to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, where he had been treated for cancer of the oesophagus, as he had been sleeping badly and his family thought he was dehydrated.

The family GP arrived at their home in Newton Aycliffe and returned him to his bed.

Mrs Gittins told the jury: "Dr Martin said 'He is my patient, I'll look after him, he doesn't need to be in hospital'."

The GP then administered the first of three morphine injections on that day. Mr Gittins died the following morning.

His widow told the court her husband had been alert before the first injection.

"He just went yellow, there was nothing there, his face had changed. I just couldn't believe it.

"His eyes couldn't open, his colour drained completely."

'Riddled with cancer'

Mrs Gittins said her son and daughter arrived in the evening and discussed having Mr Gittins admitted to hospital but they were told that no beds were available.

That evening Dr Martin told the family Mr Gittins was "riddled" with cancer, Mrs Gittins said.

She said he gave him another injection in the evening and a final one at midnight, despite her husband not regaining consciousness from the second.

She added: "He was very sweaty after the third injection.

"He seemed to go yellow and he never moved, his breathing was very shallow. I knew he was dying."

The doctor visited the next day and filled in a form, Mrs Gittins said, which said her husband had died of cancer of the oesophagus.

The trial continues.

GP 'killed three with overdoses'
26 Oct 05 |  England

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