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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 17:41 GMT
'Writs served' on death charge GP
Dr Howard Martin
Dr Howard Martin arrives at court for his trial for murder
A GP accused of murdering three patients allegedly admitted families had served writs on him because of his treatment, a court has heard.

Dr Howard Martin, 71, who practised in Newton Aycliffe, but now lives in Penmaenmawr, Conwy, north Wales, denies all charges.

Teesside Crown Court heard from Jillian Coates, the daughter of one of his alleged victims, Harry Gittins, 74.

She claimed Dr Martin said families had not approved of his treatment.

Mrs Coates told the court the GP spoke to her mother for two hours, while she and brother were present in the living room of her parents' home in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, in January last year.

Her father, who was receiving treatment for cancer of the oesophagus, had already had one morphine injection that morning.

'Writs served'

Mrs Coates told the jury: "He said that his son had died of cancer and that he had administered drugs to his son, and that his wife had not been very happy about the way he treated his son.

"He went on to say that he administered drugs to patients where the family had not approved of what he had done and that he had writs served upon him.

"He indicated that he had administered drugs to people when they were not very well and the families had not agreed with it.

"They felt he had taken the final days away and they had not had the chance to say their final goodbyes."

Mrs Coates disagreed with the GP's assessment that her father was dying, after he had undergone weeks of cancer treatment.

'Third injection'

"He was just dismissive of what I was saying. He said: 'Rubbish, the man's dying of cancer, it's not a new cancer'."

She eventually agreed that the doctor should give Mr Gittins a second injection of the day, to ease his pain.

She left before a third injection was administered that night and said she felt uneasy after she had left.

Her father died the next day and following the funeral she went to speak to his oncologist with a list of questions and after that went to the police with her concerns.

Dr Martin is also accused of murdering Frank Moss, 59, of Eldon, near Bishop Auckland 2003 and Stanley Weldon, 74, from Kimberley Street, Coundon Grange, near Bishop Auckland, in March 2003.

The trial continues.

'GP gave cancer man injections'
31 Oct 05 |  England
GP 'killed three with overdoses'
26 Oct 05 |  England

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