GMP disposal of Harold Shipman victims' tissue samples 'within the law'

Dr Harold Shipman Image copyright GMP
Image caption Twelve of Shipman's victims were exhumed and tissue samples taken during GMP's investigation

Police have no case to answer over how tissue from several victims of serial killer Harold Shipman was disposed of, the police watchdog has said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after whistleblower allegations.

The Shipman investigation saw 12 bodies exhumed and samples from them were disposed of without telling families.

The IPCC ruled GMP had "acted within the law" with regards to the samples.

Shipman was convicted of murdering 15 of his patients in 2000.

In 2011, the force took the decision to dispose of the tissue samples taken following the exhumations without informing the victims' families, a move that prompted an IPCC investigation.

The IPCC concluded GMP had "acted within the law and scope of the policies in place at the time".

"As a result, no officers were found to have a case to answer for misconduct and no further action was taken by GMP," the spokesman said.


The police watchdog also ruled on two further allegations made by the whistleblower.

In the first, it was claimed officers saw a suspected sex offender with two young people but did not intervene.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption GMP's former chief constable Sir Peter Fahy was cleared of any wrongdoing

That allegation saw then-chief constable Sir Peter Fahy served with criminal and gross misconduct notices, which were later withdrawn.

The IPCC spokesman said two senior detectives made a "conscious decision" not to intervene, which saw them face a misconduct hearing and be made subject of "performance measures and a development plan".

In the second allegation, it was claimed officers allowed a robbery to happen while conducting organised crime surveillance.

The IPCC found the lead officer in that operation had demonstrated "naivety", but said GMP had dealt with it as a "performance matter" following a misconduct meeting.

The spokesman said all other allegations made by the whistleblower had been returned to GMP to be dealt with.

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