GP case police exhume 6th body

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The Independent Online
A SIXTH body exhumed by police as part of the inquiry into the deaths of 28 former patients of a Manchester GP has been named as that of Marie Quinn, a charity worker who died aged 67.

Mrs Quinn's body was exhumed from Hyde cemetery in Greater Manchester in a two-hour operation shortly after 3.30am yesterday.

A little over six hours later Dr Harold Shipman made his third appearance before Tameside magistrates, charged with the murder of four female patients, forging the will of a former mayoress of Hyde, Kathleen Grundy, and two other counts of forgery.

The exhumation was the second in 24 hours. On Monday police excavated the body of Ivy Lomas from the same cemetery.

Murder squad detectives, headed by Detective Superintendent Bernard Postles, are awaiting the outcome of post-mortem examinations and forensic science tests on the two women. Mrs Quinn, who died last November, was buried in her late husband's grave just yards away from Bianka Pomfret, 49, one of the patients Dr Shipman is charged with murdering.

Mrs Quinn, a WRVS volunteer, luncheon club-goer and member of St Paul's Roman Catholic church in Hyde, lived alone after her husband, James, died in 1994. Their only son, John, is a school teacher who lives in Japan.

Her death certificate, signed by Dr Shipman, 52, gave her cause of death as scleroderma and cerebrovascular accident caused by arteriosclerosis caused by hyper tension.

One neighbour said: "Marie was very well liked and was very active in the community. Although she had been in poor health her death was sudden."

Police are also investigating the death of Cissy Davies, a widow who died aged 73 on 3 February this year. Mrs Davies, who was in poor health, died of broncho- pnuemonia according to the death certificate signed by Dr Shipman.

Detectives are said to be planning a trip to Malta to exhume the grave of Marie Antoinette Fernley, 53, also believed to be a patient of Dr Shipman.

The family of Chrissie Kitchen, another patient, confirmed that police were investigating her death in 1994.

Dr Shipman was the last person to see her alive on 17 June after visiting Mrs Kitchen to treat a reported stroke. Her son, Joe Kitchen, a local councillor, said the family were expecting the worst and had contacted a priest to arrange exhumation prayers.

Mr Kitchen said: "The biggest worry for us at the moment is the uncertainty and we now want her body exhumed so we know one way or the other."

Dr Shipman stands charged with killing retired post-room supervisor Joan Melia, 73, on 12 June this year, retired nurse Winnifred Mellor, also 73, on 11 May this year, and German-born Bianka Pomfret, 49, on 10 December last year. They are all from Hyde.

Their bodies were exhumed over a three-day period last month. He is also accused of murdering Mrs Grundy, who died aged 81. Dr Shipman, from Mottram, Cheshire, is due to appear in court again next month.