[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 15:49 GMT
'Murdered patient already dying'
Dr Howard Martin
Dr Howard Martin has declined to give evidence at his trial
A cancer patient allegedly murdered by his doctor with an overdose was already close to death, a court has heard.

Dr Nathaniel Carey, a pathologist, told Teesside Crown Court that Frank Moss, 59, of Eldon, Co Durham, would have died regardless of any overdose.

Dr Howard Martin, 71, denies murdering three men including Harry Gittins, 74, of Newton Aycliffe and Stanley Wheldon, 74, of Coundon Grange, both Co Durham.

The GP, of Penmaenmawr, North Wales, has declined to give evidence.

Dr Carey, a Home Office pathologist, was the first witness to be called by the defence on Wednesday.

Dr Carey, who worked on the London bombings and the Soham murders, told the hearing it would be impossible to gauge how much morphine had been administered at the time of Mr Moss' death.

Harry Gittins, Frank Moss, Stanley Weldon
The GP has pleaded not guilty to all charges

He said: "Mr Moss was in a dying phase and had a terminal and incurable condition.

"Morphine may have played a part but if he was dying already, you cannot even be sure of that.

"One would have to look at a hypothetical situation that it may simply have made him die an hour earlier than he would have died anyway.

"It would not be appropriate to include morphine as a cause of death, otherwise we would have to include it for any people that died in a hospice."

Dr Martin has been accused of administering excessive doses of morphine to Mr Gittins, who died in January last year, Mr Wheldon, who died in March 2003, and Mr Moss, who died four days earlier.

Their bodies were exhumed after a police investigation prompted by family concerns.

The trial continues.

Murder accused GP refuses stand
22 Nov 05 |  England
Family shocked by accused doctor
02 Nov 05 |  England
'GP gave cancer man injections'
31 Oct 05 |  England
GP 'killed three with overdoses'
26 Oct 05 |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific