A PATHOLOGIST told a murder trial yesterday that the doses of morphine given to a cancer sufferer was excessive.

Dr Mark Egan told the jury in the trial of Dr Howard Martin that 60mg of morphine administered to Frank Moss, who had lung cancer, was high and had played a role in his death.

Family GP Dr Martin denies murdering Mr Moss, 59, of Eldon, near Bishop Auckland, Stanley Weldon, 74, of Coundon Grange, and Harry Gittins, 74, of Newton Aycliffe, by administering large doses of morphine.

Giving evidence, Dr Egan said: "I believe 60mg is excessive. I believe it now and I believe it then. I do not believe 60mg of morphine is anything other than excessive."

Mr Egan disputed claims by the defence that lesions had been found on Mr Moss's heart and liver and said he could not find any present.

He said: "There was nothing there. Even if lesions were present, it would not affect the role of morphine in his death."

Dr Martin, of North Wales, was accused of killing the three men while he was a GP with the Jubilee Medical Group, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

The trial continues.