Harold Shipman, UK’s most prolific serial killer

Talking about the Hammersmith murders of 1964-65 and my book The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper on Shaun Attwood’s show last week, I was suddenly asked about Harold Shipman.

Shaun has a lot of followers in the US, so I was attempting to outline who the chilling Shipman was. This came up because I wrote about a fascinating BBC documentary on the case for the Mirror’s We Love TV magazine last year.

Here is the article on that shocking case and my earlier post about the documentary it was previewing. Part of the reason I was a hesitant to encapsulate this disturbing case on Shaun’s show was simply finding the words to convey the enormity of Shipman’s crimes.

Shipman watched his dying mother

He was born into a working class family in Nottingham in 1946. He apparently became interested in medicine as he watched his mother be given morphine injections to ease her pain.

It is thought by some this experience may have haunted him and influenced his later obsession with ending the lives of his own patients.

He killed his first victim, Eva Lyons, in March 1971 just before she turned 71. The patients he killed, most were women, were injected with diamorphine.

Suspicions about the kindly doctor

Masquerading as the caring local doctor, he murdered at least 250 patients over 23 years.

They were not fatally ill and would not have known what he was doing. Undertakers in Hyde, Greater Manchester, were suspicious about the number of local deaths.

The neighbouring surgery, as I mentioned to Shaun, also were disturbed to note that the death rate at Shipman’s surgery was 10 times higher than theirs.

In my chat with Shaun I also talk about footage online of the arrogant narcissist ignoring detectives after his capture. You can view it here.

He was found dead in his Wakefield jail cell in 2004. The 57-year-old had hanged himself.

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