THE evil Radcliffe murderer of a mother and her two young sons turned to his cellmate, serial killer Dr Harold Shipman, for help before killing himself.

Peter Hall shared a cell with Britain's biggest mass murderer while awaiting sentence in Strangeways Prison, Manchester, an inquest heard yesterday.

And letters to the man dubbed 'Dr Death' were found in his cell after Hall hung himself at Wakefield High Security Prison in December 1999.

A jury at a Wakefield inquest yesterday found Hall, formerly of Moss Shaw Way, Radcliffe, had committed suicide.

The 35-year-old killer was found hanging from a home-made ligature of bed sheets and workmen's overalls.

He was serving three life sentences for the brutal slaughter of his Boltongirlfriend Celeste Bates, 31, and her two sons Daniel, eight, and 17-month-old Milo.

In a statement read out by West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff, Hall's brother John claimed the only psychiatric care his brother had received while in prison was from the serial killer.

"Peter was, in my opinion, a sick, not an evil person," Mr Hall said. "But to the best of my knowledge he received no psychiatric care apart from a doctor who shared his cell who was awaiting trial accused of murdering 15 of his female patients."

But Celeste's mother, Ethel Santos-Martins, told the BEN today: "I'm glad he is dead - he deserved to die - but it won't bring my family back.

"Peter has ruined my family - I now have only one daughter left and no grandchildren."

Hall had been transferred to Wakefield Prison after admitting the brutal murders.

He had stabbed Celeste Bates 10 times with a 15cm long hunting knife and battered her with an ornamental iron at her home in Blackburn Road, Egerton, in September 1998.

He then picked up her sons Milo and Daniel from a childminder and nursery and battered them to death with a pickaxe handle in his Radcliffe home.

Celeste's body also showed signs she had been strangled.

The inquest heard how Hall had become depressed during his relationship with Celeste and tried to kill himslef.

The family solicitor Ruth Bundey told the inquest that Hall had tried to take his own life on three occasions, including crashing his car after murdering her.

The inquest also heard Hall had stopped sending letters or communicating with his son and daughter shortly after being told he would serve 22 years for the crimes.

His family contacted the prison service to express their fears that he would kill himself but were told he was not considered a suicide risk.

Wakefield prison's medical officer Dr Richard Evans said Hall had been classified as a suicide risk at Strangeways Prison.

But he had been later diagnosed as being "calm and rational" and transferred to Wakefield.

And prison governor David Shaw told the inquest prison staff had found no signs that Hall intended to kill himself and other inmates had said he appeared normal the night before his death.

But within a week of being given his own cell he had taken his own life.

Letters were found to his family. One read: "This is not a coward's way out - just my way of putting an end to the problems I have caused."

Pathologist Professor Christopher Milroy told the inquest the cause of death was hanging.

Retired Det Insp Steven Palmer, of Wakefield CID, told the inquest an investigation had found no suspicious circumstances for the death.

Mr Hinchliff and Ashley Serr, for the Prison Service, both offered their sympathy to Hall's family on his death.

Hall's family refused to comment after the inquest.

SERIAL killer Harold Shipman has been interviewed by detectives about the deaths of nine patients in the 1970s when he worked in the same practice as a Bolton GP.

Britain's biggest mass murderer has been quizzed about the suspicious deaths between 1974 and 1975 when he was a young doctor at a Todmorden practice.

Last year the BEN revealed that Dr David Bunn, who has practised in Astley Bridge for the past 13 years, had worked with the killer GP.

The Bolton GP and his colleagues sacked Shipman from the West Yorkshire practice after he was found to have a drug addiction.

Earlier this year Dr Bunn spoke of his fears that Shipman may have begun his killing spree when they colleagues.

In January he told the BEN: "I know from hearsay and what has appeared in the press that some Todmorden people are worried about some deaths which occurred there."