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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 11:49 GMT
No mourning from Shipman families
Janet  Ashton-Hibbert
Janet Ashton-Hibbert said Shipman took "the easy way out"
Shocked relatives of serial killer Dr Harold Shipman's victims say they have been cheated by his death.

The doctor was found hanging in his cell in Wakefield Prison by staff at 0620 GMT on Tuesday.

Jane Ashton Hibbert, whose 81-year-old grandmother Hilda Hibbert was murdered by Dr Shipman, said she would not be mourning his loss.

"He has done four or five years of his sentence but some people who found out a year ago their relatives were victims are just starting theirs," she told BBC News Online.

Mrs Ashton Hibbert said her family's grief was easing over time but added every time his case is raised found that the focus was on him, rather than the families who had lost relatives.

She said: "I am a bit shocked but I suppose really you could say I was angry he has chosen the easy way out instead of admitting his guilt and showing some compassion to his victims."

'Not be missed'

Kathleen Wood, whose 83-year-old mother Bessie Baddeley died in 1997, said: "I am not sorry he has gone, but it brings it all back and it stirs it all up for us again."

Solicitor Anne Alexander who represents 200 Shipman families said: "We have had many calls from our clients and they are in shock. There are more questions raised than answers."

She added: "Our clients were really hoping one day they would find out why."

Mrs Wood summed up their mood, saying: "I just wish he had been forthcoming and admitted he had done those things - it would have put a lot of people's minds at rest."

The 62-year-old said the serial killer would not be missed.

"I have got friends whose relatives were in the same position as my mother and they are not sorry either," she said.

"My mother was so active at the time and he decided to put an end to her life. He decided that was going to happen. That was what upset the family more than anything.

"They were active people doing things for the community."

I am a bit shocked but I suppose really you could say I was angry he has chosen the easy way out
Jane Ashton Hibbert
Mrs Wood, from Hyde, has three children and six grandchildren and she said she felt sorry for Dr Shipman's family.

She said: "When there are children involved, it is awful. It is going to be with them for a very long time and they are going to be very upset.

"He was their father whatever he did and they will still feel sorry."

The daughter of Margaret Waldron, who was identified as one of Dr Shipman's victims, said she was shocked by his death.

Judy Lang said: "I just think everyone is really, really upset.

"I am too shocked and numbed by it to think straight one way or another."

Medical fund

Shipman's former friend and patient Len Fallows said he heard the news from a friend.

"I thought 'Oh blimey somebody's going to have to answer a few questions at Wakefield Prison'," he said.

Like other people deceived by Shipman, Mr Fallows respected him as an "excellent doctor".

He added: "That is why when he asked me if I would run the patient's medical equipment fund for him at the surgery, which raised about 19,000 in six years, it showed what the patients in that surgery thought of him. They thought of him highly."

The BBC's Richard Bilton
"There are plenty here who feel betrayed"

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