Shipman wife goes to PCC over Mirror letters


The wife of mass murderer Harold Shipman has complained to the Press Complaints Commission that her privacy has been invaded by The Mirror’s publication of her letters to her husband in prison.

Primrose Shipman’s solicitor, William Lister of Pannone and Partners, said: "It is quite intolerable that a private and intimate letter written by our client to her husband should have been printed in The Mirror. The newspaper would appear to have obtained the letter from Mr Tony Fleming, a cellmate of Harold Shipman, who was serving a prison sentence for theft.

"Mr Fleming has suggested that Dr Shipman gave him these letters.  Given their nature, this explanation is quite obviously incredible."

Lister said Shipman denied giving Fleming the letters.

The Mirror headlined an exclusive story by Patrick Mulchrone on 9 July, "SHIPMAN’S WIFE BEGS HIM: TELL ME TRUTH" and reprinted fragments from letters she had sent to Strangeways prison where her husband was being held after his arrest in 1998.

Mulchrone details her letters’ contents, including the demand: "You have to tell me everything."

A Mirror spokeswoman said the paper had received the complaint and would be defending it vigorously, adding: "The only parts of the letter that we printed were Primrose’s appeal to her husband to tell the full truth about the murders – a truth which it is clearly in the public interest to uncover."

Lister said his firm would take all necessary steps to protect Primrose Shipman’s privacy "to enable her to carry on with her life as best she can".  She had contacted the PCC after "a considerable degree of intrusion by the press into her private life".

By Jean Morgan

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