When it comes to serial killers the majority that people talk about are from the United States however one of the worst serial killers in recent history is Harold Shipman a former doctor whose victims may number over 250 . In this article on My Crime Library we will take a closer look at Harold Shipman who is commonly referred to as Dr. Death.
Harold Shipman Early Life
Harold Shipman was born in January 1946 to working parents. Harold Shipman was a standout rugby player in his youth however his childhood was marred with the death of his mother. Harold mother who suffered from lung cancer would die in 1963 when she was given a heavy dose of morphine, ironically this is the same way that Harold Shipman victims would die. Harold Shipman would receive his doctorate in 1970.
Early on during his working career Harold Shipman would be suspended for forging prescriptions for Demerol for his own use. However after a brief stint in a drug rehab Shipman medical career would continue. Harold Shipman career would progress throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s and was known to be a competent doctor.
Harold Shipman Murders
Late in the 1990’s a coroner began to notice a high death rate connected to Harold Shipman however a brief investigation would lead to no criminal charges. The local police would be blasted following the Shipman Inquiry for missing the obvious signs.
Harold Shipman would murder at least three more patients before he was once again under investigation which would eventually lead to his downfall. Harold Shipman last victim was murdered in 1998 who he would sign the death certificate and forge her will. The police investigation would reveal a large amount of evidence that tied him to the murder, some believe Shipman was so careless because he wanted to be caught.
Eventually another inquiry was conducted that took police and authorities two years to complete and in the end tied Shipman to as many as 250 murder victims. Harold Shipman would be convicted of fifteen murders and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Harold Shipman Death
Harold Shipman would die behind bars at HM Prison Wakefield where he was found hanging in his cell using a bed sheet. Harold would commit suicide the night before his 58th birthday.
Harold Shipman Other News
The former GP, Harold Shipman, Britain’s most prolific serial killer, used massive doses of diamorphine to kill his victims, the public inquiry into his patients’ deaths was told as it got under way last week.
The inquiry, at Manchester town hall, chaired by High Court judge Dame Janet Smith, is expected to take two years to unravel how the GP was able to evade the authorities for 24 years while killing hundreds of his patients.
Shipman, serving life in Frankland prison, Durham, after being found guilty last year of murdering 15 women patients, has refused to cooperate with the inquiry. It will try to establish how 459 patients died, although this may not be the full toll.
Richard Lissack QC, representing victims’ families, said that the GP had “moved unchecked through families, streets, and bit by bit murdered the heart of a community.”
Shipman, practising in Hyde, Greater Manchester, was unmasked after he was named as the sole beneficiary of the will of Kathleen Grundy, an elderly patient who was fit and healthy but had died suddenly during a visit to her home by Shipman.
Warning bells had been sounded at various stages of his career, but he had managed to escape detection. In 1975, in his first year in general practice in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, police and Home Office inspectors first became suspicious about the amounts of pethidine that he was obtaining. After several denials, he eventually admitted taking it intravenously for depression.
He was convicted on drugs charges in 1976 and entered a clinic to overcome his addiction. He had given a written undertaking in 1975 that he had no intention to return to general practice. But two years later he was back in practice.
The General Medical Council decided not to take action against him after receiving a psychiatrist’s report that said it would be “catastrophic” if he were not allowed to return to practice.
Harold Shipman More News
British GP Shipman – who practised in Hyde, Greater Manchester – was convicted of 15 murders, but a public inquiry that followed identified 215 confirmed victims and 45 more people who died in suspicious circumstances, potentially linked to Shipman.
Shipman’s earliest confirmed victim was 70-year-old Eva Lyons, who died on 17 March 1975 – more than two decades before he was caught in 1998 – but there has long been suspicion he started before then.
Filmmaker Chris Wilson, who made the BBC’s The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story, told LADbible: “One of the things we cover in the documentary is that he actually started killing while he was still a junior doctor.
“As part of the public inquiry, they [the authorities] subsequently looked into his time as a junior doctor and concluded that he probably killed another 15 and 20 – but that was so long ago that it’s difficult to be sure about specific cases.”
After Shipman died in 2004, a nurse who had worked with him came forward with suspicions about the numbers of deaths on the ward he had worked on. And the nurse isn’t the only former colleague who had concerns after working with the deadly doctor.
He added: “We spoke to Doctor Anthony Baboobal, who worked with him on the wards and he remembered the case of a four-year-old child who he is pretty convinced Shipman killed.”
“I always thought there was some ulterior motive, I thought there was something not quite right about this. As time went on he appeared to me to be lacking in the one thing a good doctor should have, which is compassion.
“He appeared to have a different relationship with patients and their families. The milk of human kindness did not appear to run in his veins.
“I thought he was a very odd and sinister person.”
Dr Baboobal, who has since retired, spoke about a time when Shipman, who was using his middle name Fred at the time, treated a young child for a chest infection, before the patient became seriously ill and died.
He said: “I could not understand. I was very perturbed because Fred had given me no indication at all that this was anything other than an ordinary chest infection. But this child died quickly.
“With hindsight, I had wondered if he had done something to this child.”
When asked outright, Dr Baboobal answered: “I can’t say that. What I think is, I think it’s likely that is what happened. And I think it is likely that this child had some opiate that hastened their death.”
All three parts of The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story are available on iPlayer now.