Widow's will prompts death inquiry

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The Independent Online
POLICE MIGHT investigate the deaths of 20 patients of a general practitioner after a complaint about the will of an 81-year-old widow.

The body of Kathleen Grundy, who died unexpectedly on 24 June, was exhumed on 1 August for a post-mortem examination after her daughter and grandsons raised concerns about her will. Mrs Grundy, the widow of a former mayor of Hyde, Greater Manchester, was said to be devoted to her grandsons but is thought not to have left them anything.

Detectives are now examining the circumstances of her death and have said they may also be looking at the deaths of 19 other patients of her GP, Dr Harold Shipman, also of Hyde. They are waiting for the results of forensic science tests on the body of Mrs Grundy before deciding whether to interview the doctor. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said that there was nothing to suggest anything suspicious in any of the deaths.

Dr Shipman, who has been a doctor for 28 years, refused to comment yesterday. A spokes-man for the Medical Defence Union, which is advising him, said: "Due to Dr Shipman's duty of confidentiality he cannot discuss the treatment of any of his patients."

Friends of Mrs Grundy expressed their shock at her death. Geoffrey Ridgway, a friend of 34 years, said: "She loved gardening and thought the world of her family."