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Killer Harold Shipman 'was a good doctor'

The son of one of serial killer Harold Shipman's victims still maintains he was a "good doctor" and said he views the killing as "euthanasia".

Jack Shelmerdine, whose father - also called Jack - died at the hands of the GP, said he and his family had a greater suspicion that there was a problem with hospital care than their doctor being at fault.

He spoke out in a new two-part Channel 5 documentary marking 10 years since Shipman committed suicide which begins tonight.

Mr Shelmerdine said: "It's an odd situation that he killed my father and that I still think he was a good doctor! The two don't seem reconcilable. I can't explain the attitude I have. I mean, logic says you should hate the man but, I don't know."

He had been present when Shipman delivered the lethal injection. Mr Shelmerdine recalled: " I was concerned that my father was still unconscious, still asleep as we were thinking, and I rang Dr Shipman and I remember his words were, 'Oh, he might well make it'. But those words, 'he might make it' seemed odd to me.

"And I just wondered whether questions ought to be asked. I wasn't thinking in terms of Dr Shipman having done anything. We were more inclined to think that the hospital had done something wrong rather than Shipman.

"It is murder, but I would like to think of it as euthanasia. Twisted logic. That's life."

Shipman was sentenced to life in 2000 after being found guilty of 15 murders, although many more were suspected.

In the first programme, Harold Shipman: Driven To Kill, a former colleague from his early years practising medicine at Pontefract General Infirmary, the then ward sister Margaret Sivorn, said he was a "brilliant doctor".

"The consultants liked him. He got on well with his colleagues. The patients absolutely couldn't ever say a bad thing about him," she said.

"They felt calm and comfortable with him and knew that he was looking after them properly. He was always professional, always, and you always felt at ease with him. He'd have a smile with them, a little joke with them, but professional to his fingertips."

A second programme, Harold Shipman: Catching Dr Death, will be screened a week today.

:: Harold Shipman: Driven To Kill is on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight.

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