Doctor murder inquiry widens

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The Independent Online
POLICE INVESTIGATING a doctor charged with murdering one of his elderly patients are extending their inquiries to the Continent.

Detectives from Manchester are in contact with officials in the Mediterranean over the possible exhumation of a former patient of Dr Harold Shipman.

Yesterday, murder squad officers continued to question the 52-year-old GP from Greater Manchester in connection with further deaths. The bodies of four of his patients have been exhumed.

Dr Shipman, of Mottram, Tameside, is currently remanded in custody, charged with the murder of Kathleen Grundy, a widow aged 81.

He is also charged with falsely obtaining cash and property worth pounds 300,000 and forging a will and two letters.

The body of Mrs Grundy, a charity worker and former Mayoress of Hyde, was exhumed on 1 August. A coroner gave permission for her grave to be opened after relatives expressed concerns over her death.

Police have said that the records of 28 of the GP's patients at his surgery at Market Street, Hyde, are being looked at as part of the investigation. More than 20 of those under scrutiny were cremated.

Last month, the remains of Winifred Mellor and Joan Melia, 73-year-old widows, and Bianka Pomfret, 49, were exhumed from cemeteries.

Greater Manchester Police said: "We can confirm that Dr Harold Shipman is being interviewed in connection with further offences."

Police declined to comment on the widening of the inquiry, but it is understood that a further three bodies may be exhumed, including one on the Continent. That search was prompted by relatives of one of Dr Shipman's female patients who died in Hyde but was buried near her birthplace abroad.

The GP is awaiting the outcome of an NHS tribunal which convened last week to consider a request by West Pennine health authority to suspend him.

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