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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Sixth doctor cleared over Shipman
Harold Shipman
Harold Shipman murdered about 250 patients with morphine
A sixth doctor who signed cremation forms for serial killer Harold Shipman in Greater Manchester has been cleared of professional misconduct.

Dr Susan Booth was found not guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council on Friday.

The doctors had been accused of failing to notice "extraordinary coincidences" between timings of Shipman's home visits and patient deaths in Hyde.

Three doctors were cleared on Thursday and two others last year.

Doctors Jeremy Dirckze, Stephen Farrar and Alistair MacGillivray had been cleared of misconduct charges at a General Medical Council (GMC) Fitness to Practise Panel hearing in Manchester.

The panel has no doubt that the oral account which he gave to Dr Booth would have been totally convincing
Dr Linda Buchanan

Two other GPs, Peter Bennett and Rajesh Patel, were cleared of the same charges last December.

Dr Booth worked alongside colleagues Dirckze, Farrar and MacGillivray in surgeries close to Shipman's practice and regularly counter-signed cremation forms filled out by the mass murderer.

Clearing Dr Booth, panel chairman Dr Linda Buchanan said: "The cases considered by the panel during this hearing have concerned one doctor, Dr Shipman.

"The extent to which he lied was so extraordinary that it could not have been within the contemplation of any of those who dealt with him.

Found hanged

"The panel has no doubt that the oral account which he gave to Dr Booth would have been totally convincing."

Dr Booth was not present at any stage throughout the hearing and sent no legal representative on her behalf.

Dr Buchanan said it would be "illogical" for the panel to reach a different conclusion for Dr Booth than for the other GPs.

Shipman is thought to have murdered about 250 people with lethal morphine injections between 1975 and 1998.

He was jailed for life in January 2000 after being convicted of 15 counts of murder at Preston Crown Court, and was found hanged in his Wakefield prison cell four years later.


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