Families claim Shipman jewels back

Last updated at 13:32 18 March 2005

The relatives of 16 patients murdered by Harold Shipman have contacted police to claim back jewellery that may have been stolen by the doctor during his killing spree.

Detectives seized a £10,000 hoard of wedding rings, necklaces and brooches from Shipman's garage when he was first arrested.

Yesterday it emerged that the 70 items of jewellery could be given to the killer's wife, Primrose Shipman, if the families of the victims could not prove they belonged to their murdered loved ones.

The news caused outrage among victims' relatives, who are now contacting Greater Manchester Police to claim the jewellery back.

A force spokesman said: "Since writing to the families of Dr Shipman's victims in a final attempt to establish if anybody can positively identify any of the items in our possession, we have been contacted by the relatives of 16 of Dr Shipman's victims.

"We will be meeting with them regarding the possible identification of items of jewellery in the near future."

Britain's biggest serial killer

Shipman, Britain's biggest serial killer, is estimated to have murdered at least 250 patients in a two-decade killing spree while working as a doctor in Hyde, Greater Manchester, and Pontefract and Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

He was found hanged in Wakefield Prison in January last year after being given 15 life sentences in January 2000.

Police believe some of the jewellery found in the garage may have been stolen by Shipman after he injected his victims with morphine overdoses.

But unless the families of victims can prove the items belonged to them, police must return the items to the killer's wife.

Police have now written to 180 families urging them to try to identify the jewellery.

Yesterday, Kathleen Wood, whose 83-year-old mother Bessie Baddeley was killed in 1997, said she was "appalled" that the jewellery could end up in Mrs Shipman's hands.

"I cannot see why she should lay claim to the jewellery," she said.

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