By Patrick Markey
When the story of Dr. Harold Shipman broke in the British newspapers, it made headlines in the Irish nationals, too.
Dubbed Dr. Death, Shipman has been convicted of killing 15 elderly patients and authorities believe he may be responsible for many more.
So the families of two Tipperary women, former Shipman patients, are now criticizing the British authorities for not stopping the mass murderer sooner, reports the Munster Express.
Among the victims of the 54-year-old Manchester doctor was Marie Quinn, a 67-year-old native of Carrick-on-Suir. And the children of Alice "Christine" Kitchen 70, originally from Ballyneale, near Carrick-on-Suir, believe Shipman was involved in the death of their mother.
Quinn’s body was among one of eight women to be exhumed during the recent investigation and an examination found she had no abnormality which would account for her death. Shipman reported she had died from a fatal stroke. Large amounts of lethal morphine and diamorphine were discovered in all of the bodies.
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Shipman told Quinn’s son John that his mother had telephoned his surgery saying she thought she had had a stroke and was paralyzed. When he called at her home in Peel Street, Hyde, 30 minutes later, Shipman said found her collapsed in the kitchen, the paper reported.
Kitchen’s children suspect Shipman’s involvement in their mother’s death. Kitchen died in 1995 at the age of 70. She had attended Dr. Shipman’s surgery on the day she died. Her remains were exhumed from Hyde Cemetery in November 1998, but the family were informed that not enough evidence existed to pursue the case.
Kerry is mourning one of its more famous sons. The man who claimed to have the oldest cow in the world, and who became an international media personality after he stuffed her carcass, has died.
The Examiner newspaper reports that Jerome O’Leary, 80, small farmer and owner of Big Bertha, died at his home in Gerah, Blackwater, Co. Kerry.
A rare Droimeann cow, Big Bertha died in Dec. 1993, just three months short of her 50th birthday. O’Leary had her carcass stuffed and gave it pride of place in his home.
Neighbors remembered the farmer as his own man.
"Jerome did his own thing and moved at his own pace. He was very much an old timer. He had been failing for a while, but his death has come as a shock to us all. He died sitting on his chair," one said.
"He also raised thousands of pounds for charity, mainly for cancer treatment and research, by taking Big Bertha around to festivals, fairs and many other events. He did great work that way," the neighbor said.
Big Bertha held her own in the fame stakes. The Bovine record-breaker was reputed to have had 39 calves, one of which, Bessie, is nearly 50 years old.
Michael Costello, a pupil in sixth class at County Waterford’s Edmund Rice Primary School caused a stir recently when he walked into class clutching a battered old bottle.
Inside was a Canadian flag and a message from a young Canadian called Francis Chenier in the small town Granby, near Quebec. The bottle had made the 5,000 mile journey in just over seven months, the Munster Express reported.
Francis wasn’t looking for help, rather he was just taking part in a school experiment. In his letter, the Canadian wrote that he is a 14 years old and that French is his main language but that he is learning English in school. Francis lists 12 questions for the finder to answer together with his home address.
Michael’s father, Paddy Costello, found the bottle on Kilfarrasey Beach as he was walking with a neighbor.