Doctor quizzed over pub murder

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The Independent Online
MURDER squad detectives have questioned a hospital anaesthetist arrested in Scotland following the fatal shooting of a nurse.

Dr Thomas Shanks, an anaesthetist at Pontefract general infirmary in West Yorkshire and a former SAS man, was arrested in Lennoxtown, near Glasgow on Friday. He was taken to Pontefract police station yesterday.

He was arrested following the death of nurse Vicky Fletcher who was shot dead outside a pub in Castleford, West Yorkshire, on Thursday. Ms Fletcher, 21, a nurse at the Pontefract hospital, was Dr Shanks's ex-girlfriend. She had left the pub to speak to the doctor during a night out with friends.

She was shot in the arms, leg and back and died shortly afterwards in the hospital where she worked. She trained at the hospital and worked on the geriatric ward.

Dr Shanks, 47, who had served in the Army, including the SAS, was arrested on Friday evening in his home city of Glasgow after a nationwide manhunt. It was believed that he and Ms Fletcher had recently separated after a stormy live-in relationship

Dr Shanks's ex-wife Julie and their nine-year-old daughter, who live in Birmingham, were taken into protective custody as a precaution after he made several phone calls to the family.

Mrs Shanks and her daughter were kept at a secret location and the school where she works, King's Heath Primary, was closed as a precaution. Armed officers from West Midlands Police firearms squad patrolled the area around the school and the family home in Sheldon, Birmingham.

In a statement issued through police, Mrs Shanks described her former husband as "a caring man".