Who are we?
There are currently four active members of SQFP (Salford Quays Forensic Pathology) consisting of Dr John Rutherford (Home Office Registered Forensic Pathologist), Susanna Durant BSc (hons) (Scientific Assistant) and two Consulting Associates (Dr Jennifer Bolton and Dr Stuart Hamilton)
We are based in Salford Quays, Manchester.
We work alongside a team of forensic pathologists in Greater Manchester and the north West assisting in the investigations of suspicious deaths.
Who do we work for?
We receive work from three bodies.
When a death occurs in suspicious circumstances in the
Greater Manchester area a forensic pathologists is required to
assist the police with regards to the nature of any injuries, the
cause of death, the manner of death (the way in which death
occurs), and other subtleties.
The Coroner engages the services of a forensic pathologist to
establish the cause and manner of death when a death that
might have medicolegal repercussions is reported to him or
A solicitor may require a forensic pathologist to undertake a
second post mortem on behalf of defence interests, or to
examine the case of an aggrieved in order to better his or her
understanding of the evidence in a case.
Examples of our work
Dr Rutherford has been involved in the investigation of a large number of suspicious deaths including some high profile cases. He was the forensic pathologist involved in the Shipman murders centred around a general practice in Hyde, Greater Manchester, UK.
Suspicion arose following the discovery of falsification of the will of one of Dr Shipman's recently deceased patients. The decedent, although fit and healthy, had been found dead in her home following a visit the same morning by Dr Shipman. He claimed to have dropped round to obtain a blood sample for an ageing study which was later found to be a falsification.
A pattern of sudden deaths, either following or during an appointment or visit from Dr Shipman, emerged and lead to the exumation of 12 former patients. These were examined by Dr Rutherford and hard evidence found to implicate opiate poisoning in the majority of cases.
Dr Shipman has since been convicted of 15 murders and a public inquiry chaired by Dame Janet Smith found him to be responsible for the unlawful killing of 215 individuals.