Police later established that Shipman would, in most cases, alter these medical notes directly after killing the patient, to ensure that his account matched the historical records. What Shipman had failed to grasp was that each alteration of the records would be time stamped by the computer, enabling police to ascertain exactly which records had been altered.
Following extensive investigations, which included numerous exhumations and autopsies, the police charged Shipman with 15 individual counts of murder on 7th September , as well as one count of forgery. The Trial. Attempts by his defence council to have Shipman tried in three separate phases, i.
The prosecution asserted that Shipman had killed the fifteen patients because he enjoyed exercising control over life and death, and dismissed any claims that he had been acting compassionately, as none of his victims were suffering a terminal illness. Next up, the government pathologist led the court through the gruesome post mortem findings, where morphine toxicity was the cause of death in most instances.
Thereafter, fingerprint analysis of the forged will showed that Kathleen Grundy had never handled the will, and her signature was dismissed by a handwriting expert as a crude forgery. A police computer analyst then testified how Shipman had altered his computer records to create symptoms that his dead patients never had, in most cases within hours of their deaths. A lack of compassion, disregard for the wishes of attending relatives, and reluctance to attempt to revive patients were bad enough, but another fraud also came to light: he would pretend to call the emergency services in the presence of relatives, then cancel the call out when the patient was discovered to be dead.
Telephone records showed that no actual calls were made. Despite their attempts, his arrogance and constantly changing stories, when caught out in obvious lies, did nothing to endear him to the jury. Following a meticulous summation by the judge, and a caution to the jury that no one had actually witnessed Shipman kill any of his patients, the jury were sufficiently convinced by the testimony and evidence presented, and unanimously found Shipman guilty on all charges: 15 counts of murder and one of forgery, on the afternoon of 31st January Shipman was incarcerated at Durham Prison.
The Aftermath. The fact that a doctor had killed 15 patients sent a shudder through the medical community, but this was to prove insignificant in light of further investigations that delved more deeply into his patient case list history. A clinical audit conducted by Professor Richard Baker, of the University of Leicester, examined the number and pattern of deaths in Harold Shipman's practice and compared them with those of other practitioners.
It found that rates of death amongst his elderly patients were significantly higher, clustered at certain times of day and that Shipman was in attendance in a disproportionately high number of cases. The audit goes on to estimate that he may have been responsible for the deaths of at least patients over a year period. He may in fact have taken his first victim within months of obtaining his licence to practice medicine, year-old Margaret Thompson, who died in March whilst recovering from a stroke, but deaths prior to were never officially proven.
Whatever the exact number, the sheer scale of his murderous activities meant that Shipman was catapulted from British patient killer to the most prolific known serial killer in the world. He remained at Durham Prison throughout these investigations, maintaining his innocence, and was staunchly defended by his wife Primrose and family. He was moved to Wakefield Prison in June , which made visits from his family easier. On 13th January , Shipman was discovered at 6 a.
There remains some mystery about the whereabouts of his remains, with some claiming that his body is still in a Sheffield Morgue, while others believe that his family have custody of his body, believing that he may have been murdered in his cell, and wishing to delay his interment pending further tests. His patients - mainly elderly women - were living alone and vulnerable. They adored their doctor, Harold "Fred" Shipman. Even when their contemporaries began dying in unusually high numbers, patients remained loyal to the murderous M.
For as long as he spared them, his victims loved their doctor — to death. In the dead of a black August night, relentless rains and driving winds formed the perfect backdrop for an exhumation. But this was no psychological thriller — the Manchester police were observing a real-life drama. Experts were raising the mud-streaked coffin of wealthy Kathleen Grundy. Interred just 5 weeks earlier in the Hyde cemetery, the year-old ex-mayoress held, in death, the key to solving nearly murders.
This would give killer Dr. Harold Shipman the dubious distinction of being the greatest serial murderer the world has ever known. It puts him well ahead of modern history's most prolific serial killer to date — Pedro "monster of the Andes" Lopez. Convicted of 57 murders in , Lopez allegedly killed young girls in Colombia. In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he continues to maintain his innocence.
How could this prolific serial killer go undetected for so long? And what made him the monster he became? The answers lie in a story that began in earnest over fifty years ago — in a government-owned red brick terrace house in the north of England. Born into a working class family on June 14, , Harold Frederick Shipman, called Fred or Freddy, knew a childhood far from normal. He maintained a distance between himself and his contemporaries — mainly due to the influence of his mother, Vera.
This distance was to manifest itself in later years. One neighbor notes, "Vera was friendly enough, but she really did see her family as superior to the rest of us. Not only that, you could tell Harold Freddy was her favorite — the one she saw as the most promising of her three children. Vera decided who Harold could play with, and when. She wanted to distinguish him from the other boys — he was the one who always wore a tie when the others were allowed more casual dress. His sister Pauline was seven years older, his brother Clive, four years his junior.
But in his mother's eyes, Harold was the one she held the most hope for. As a student, Shipman was comparatively bright in his early school years, but rather mediocre when he reached upper school level. Nonetheless, he was a plodder determined to succeed, even when it meant re-sitting his entrance examinations for medical school. Strangely, he had every opportunity to be part of the group — he was an accomplished athlete on the football field and the running track.
In spite of this, his belief in his superiority appears to have precluded forming meaningful friendships with his contemporaries. And there was something else that isolated him from the group. His beloved mother had terminal lung cancer. As she wasted away, Harold willingly played a major supportive role. Much has been made of the way young Harold Shipman dealt with his mother's final months — justifiably so. Because his behavior then closely paralleled that of Shipman the serial killer.
Every day after classes, he would hurry home, make Vera a cup of tea and chat with her — probably about his day at school. She counted the minutes as she waited, and found great solace in his company. For his part, this is likely where Shipman learned the endearing bedside manner he would adopt later in his practice as a family physician.
Toward the end, Vera experienced severe pain. But, because pumps to self-administer painkillers did not exist at that time, Vera's sole relief from the agony of cancer came with the family physician. No doubt young Harold watched in fascination as his mother's distress miraculously subsided whenever the family doctor injected her with morphine.
As the disease progressed, the already trim Ms. Shipman grew thinner and frailer until, on June 21st , the cancer claimed her life. Vera's death left her son with a tremendous sense of loss. After all, his mother was the one who made him feel special, above the rest. Significantly, her passing left him with an indelible image — the patient with a cup of tea nearby, finding sweet relief in morphine.
Etched upon the year-old's mind, it was a scene he would re-create hundreds of times in the future. And when it happened, he would be a doctor — one with no regard for human life or feeling. Two years after his mother died, Harold Shipman was finally admitted to Leeds University medical school. Getting in had been a struggle. In spite of his self-proclaimed superiority, he'd had to re-write the exams he'd flunked first time around.
Nonetheless, his grades were adequate enough for him to collect a degree and serve his mandatory hospital internship. It is surprising to learn that so many of his teachers and fellow students can barely remember Shipman. Some who do remember claim that he looked down on them and seemed bemused by the way most young men behaved. If someone told a joke he would smile patiently, but Fred never wanted to join in.
It seems funny, because I later heard he'd been a good athlete, so you'd have thought he'd be more of a team player. Most of his contemporaries — especially from his earlier years — simply remember him as a loner. They also remember the one place where his personality changed — the football field. Here, his aggression was unleashed, his dedication to win intense.
Even so, he was more sociable in medical school than his mother had allowed him to be while living at home. A former teacher said, "I don't think he ever had a girlfriend; in fact he took his older sister to school dances. They made a strange couple. But then, he was a bit strange — a pretentious lad. But Shipman finally found companionship in a girl and married before most of his contemporaries did.
At nineteen, he met Primrose — 3 years his junior. Her background was similar to Fred's. Her mother restricted her friendships, and controlled her activities.
Harold Shipman: Mind Set On Murder
No poster girl, Primrose was delighted to have finally found a boyfriend. Shipman married her when she was 17 — and 5 months pregnant. By he was a father of two and had joined a medical practice in the Yorkshire town of Todmorden. In this North England setting, Fred seemed to undergo a metamorphosis; he became an outgoing, respected member of the community — in the eyes of his fellow medics and patients.
But the staff in the medical offices where he worked saw a different side of the young practitioner. He was often unnecessarily rude and made some of them feel "stupid" — a word he frequently used to describe anyone he didn't like. He was confrontational and combative with many people, to the point where he belittled and embarrassed them. He also had a way of getting things done his way — even with the more experienced doctors in the practice. Hard working, and enthusiastic, Shipman fitted well into the social matrix.
His senior partners saw him as a Godsend. One, Dr. Michael Grieve, appreciated Fred's contribution in providing up-to-date information, as he was so recently out of medical school. But his career in Todmorden came to a sudden halt when he began having blackouts. His partners were devastated when he gave them the reason. He suffered, he said, with epilepsy. He used this inaccurate diagnosis as a cover-up. The truth soon surfaced, when practice receptionist Marjorie Walker stumbled upon some disturbing entries in a druggist's controlled narcotics ledger. The records showed how Shipman had been prescribing large and frequent amounts of pethidine in the names of several patients.
Moreover, he'd written numerous prescriptions for the drug on behalf of the practice. Although this was not unusual drugs are kept on hand for emergencies and immediate treatments , the prescribed amounts were excessive. Pethidine — a morphine-like analgesic — was initially thought to have no addictive properties. Now, some sixty years after scientists first synthesized it, pethidine's non-addictive reputation is still hotly debated. Following the discovery of Shipman's over-prescribing, a covert investigation by the practice — including Dr.
John Dacre — followed.
To his alarm, he discovered many patients on the prescription list had neither required nor received the drug. Dacre challenged Fred in a staff meeting, as one of his partners, Dr. Michael Grieve recalls:.
Shipman's way of dealing with the problem was to provide an insight into his true personality. Realizing his career was on the line, he first begged for a second chance. When this was denied, he became enraged and stormed out, hurled a medical bag to the ground and threatened to resign. The partners were dumbfounded by this violent — and seemingly uncharacteristic — behavior. Shortly afterwards, his wife Primrose stormed into the room where his peers were discussing the best way to dismiss him. Rudely, she informed the people at the meeting that her husband would never resign, proclaiming, "You'll have to force him out!
She was right. Ultimately he was forced out of the practice and into a drug re-hab center in Two years later, his many convictions for drug offences, prescription fraud and forgery cost him a surprisingly low fine — just over pounds sterling. Shipman's conviction for forgery is worth noting. First, because his skill in this area was nothing less than pathetic; second, he failed to learn that his ineptitude in this area was readily exposed.
Yet in spite of this early warning, some 22 years later he actually believed he could get away with faking signatures on a patently counterfeit will — that of his last victim, Katherine Grundy. This lack of judgment — some say arrogance — set in motion the mechanism for his downfall. As for the pethidine charges, the question remains: Did he really self-inject the drugs as he claimed or had he already begun using them to kill unsuspecting patients?
This is currently under review. Today, it is unlikely Harold Shipman would be allowed to handle drugs unsupervised, given his previous track record. Nonetheless, within two years, he was back in business as a general practitioner. How readily he was accepted demonstrates his absolute self-confidence — and his ability to convince his peers of his sincerity. Jeffery Moysey of the Center explained "His approach was that I have had this problem, this conviction for abuse of pethidine.
I have undergone treatment. I am now clean. All I can ask you to do is to trust me on that issue and to watch me. Again, he played the role of a dedicated, hardworking and community-minded doctor. He gained his patients' absolute trust and earned his colleagues' respect. Some of those who worked under him have told of his sarcastic and abusive nature, but he was skilled at masking his patronizing attitude in front of those he chose to impress. As for any signs of addiction, there were no blackouts as before, and no indication of drug abuse.
Because of the nature of the Shipman case, it may never be possible to document every murder he committed. A clinical audit commissioned by the Department of Health estimates his responsibility for the deaths of at least patients over a year period. This audit, by Professor Richard Baker of the University of Leicester, examined the number and pattern of deaths in Harold Shipman's practice.
It then compared them with those of other practitioners. Significant differences appeared, notably that the rates of death in elderly patients were disproportionately higher. Other variations appeared; deaths were often clustered at certain times of the day, patients' records and previous symptoms mismatched, and Shipman was usually in attendance.
Professor Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health, wrote that these factors "must now be investigated by the proper legal authorities. Detective Chief Superintendent Bernard Postles, who headed the original investigations, said of the report 'many of its conclusions accord with our own findings to date.
Even so, the final numbers are anyone's guess — Coroner John Pollard once speculated "we might be looking at But whatever the final count, there is no immediate plan to try the killer on future findings — nor would it serve much purpose because he's already serving 15 concurrent life sentences. Instead, other cases are being investigated as they come to light, with coroners' verdicts of unlawful killing continuing to mount.
As they do, the question most asked is this: Why wasn't he stopped sooner? In this macabre and unfinished story, Shipman's former patients are grateful indeed he was finally stopped. The feeling "I could have been next" will always haunt them. And there is little doubt that some owe their lives to a determined and intelligent woman named Angela Woodruff.
Her dogged determination to solve a mystery helped ensure that, on Monday, January 31, , the jury at Preston Crown Court found Shipman guilty of murdering 15 of his patients and forging the will of Angela's beloved mother, Katherine Grundy. But Ms. Woodruff was not the first to realize something was dangerously wrong where Dr. Shipman was involved. Local undertaker Alan Massey began noticing a strange pattern: not only did Shipman's patients seem to be dying at an unusually high rate; their dead bodies had a similarity when he called to collect them.
Shipman's always seem to be the same, or very similar. There was never anything in the house that I saw that indicated the person had been ill. It just seems the person, where they were, had died. There was something that didn't quite fit. Worried enough to voice his unease, Massey decided to confront Shipman, and paid the doctor a visit. Massey recalls, "I asked him if there was any cause for concern and he just said 'no there isn't". He showed me his certificate book that he issues death certificates in, the cause of death in, and his remarks were 'nothing to worry about, you've nothing to worry about and anybody who wants to inspect his book can do.
Reassured by Shipman's ease at being questioned, the undertaker took no further action. But his daughter, Debbie Brambroffe — also a funeral director — was not so readily appeased. She found an ally in Dr. Susan Booth. From a neighboring practice, Dr. Booth had gone to the funeral directors to examine a body. British law requires a doctor from an unrelated practice to countersign cremation forms issued by the original doctor. They are paid a fee for this service which some medics cynically call "cash for ash.
Booth she had misgivings. Booth explained, "She was concerned about the number of deaths of Dr. Shipman's patients that they'd attended recently. She was also puzzled by the way in which the patients were found. They were mostly female, living on their own, found dead sitting in a chair fully dressed, not in their nightclothes lying ill in bed.
Booth spoke to her colleagues. One of them, Dr. Linda Reynolds contacted coroner John Pollard. He in turn alerted the police. In a virtually covert operation, Shipman's records were examined and given a clean bill of health because the causes of death and treatments matched perfectly. What the police did not discover was that Shipman had re-written patient records after he killed. The quality of that investigation has been questioned because the police failed to check for a previous criminal record.
Nor did they make inquiries with the General Medical Council. Had they done so, Shipman's past record of drug abuse and forgery might well have led to a more thorough approach. But more intense scrutiny was about to blow the Shipman case wide open. Kathleen Grundy's sudden death on June 24th came as a terrible shock to all who knew her. A singularly active year-old, she was well known to the people of Hyde. A wealthy ex-mayor, she had energy to burn and was a tireless worker for local charities until the day of her death. Her absence was noted when she failed to show at the Age Concern club.
There, she helped serve meals to elderly pensioners. Because the wealthy widow was noted for her punctuality and reliability, her friends suspected something was wrong. When they went to her home to check up on her, they found her lying on a sofa. She was fully dressed, and dead.
He had visited the house a few hours earlier, and was the last person to see her alive. He claimed the purpose of his visit had been to take blood samples for studies on aging. Shipman pronounced her dead and the news was conveyed to her daughter, Angela Woodruff. The doctor told the daughter a post mortem was unnecessary because he had seen her shortly before her death.
Following her mother's burial Ms. Woodruff returned to her home, where she received a troubling phone call from solicitors. They claimed to have a copy of Ms. Grundy's will. A solicitor herself, Angela's own firm had always handled her mother's affairs - her firm held the original document lodged in The moment she saw the badly typed, poorly worded paper, Angela Woodruff knew it was a fake.
It left , pounds to Dr. The signature looked strange, it looked too big. The concept of Mum signing a document leaving everything to her doctor was unbelievable. Initially, she wondered if Shipman was being framed. But after interviewing witnesses to the "will," she reluctantly concluded the doctor had murdered her mother for profit. It was then she went to her local police. Her investigation results ultimately reached Detective Superintendent Bernard Postles.
His own investigation convinced him Angela Woodruff's conclusions were accurate. Of the forged will itself, Postles was to later say, "You only have to look at it once and you start thinking it's like something off a John Bull printing press. You don't have to have twenty years as a detective to know it's a fake. Maybe he thought he was being clever — an old lady, nobody around her: Look at it; it's a bit tacky.
But everyone knew she was as sharp as a tack. Maybe it was his arrogance Now Det. Supt Postles had the oldest motive in the world — greed — to justify his future actions. To get solid proof of Kathleen Grundy's murder, a post mortem was required which, in turn, required an exhumation order from the coroner. This is a rare occurrence for any British police force, one the Greater Manchester Police had not experienced. We asked the National Crime Squad for advice.
Postles explained. By the time the trial had begun, his team would be uncomfortably familiar with the process. Of the fifteen killed, nine were buried and six cremated. Katherine Grundy's was the first grave opened. Her body was the first of the ongoing post mortems. Her tissue and hair samples were sent to different labs for analysis, and the wait for results began. At the same time, police raided the doctor's home and offices.
It was a low-key exercise, but timed so Shipman had no chance of learning a body had been exhumed for a post mortem — Police had to be certain no evidence could be destroyed or concealed before their search. When the police arrived, Shipman registered no surprise. Rather, his approach was one of arrogance and contempt as the search warrant was read out. One item crucial to police investigations was the typewriter used to type the bogus will.
Shipman produced an old Brother manual portable, telling an improbable tale of how Ms. Grundy sometimes borrowed it. This unbelievable story was to work against Shipman — especially when forensic scientists confirmed it was the machine used to type the counterfeit will and other fraudulent documents. Searching his house yielded medical records, some mysterious jewelry and a surprise. The Shipman home was littered with filthy clothes, old newspapers and, for a doctor's home, it was nothing short of unsanitary.
When toxicologist Julie Evans filed her report on the cause of Ms. Grundy's death, Det. Postles was astounded. The morphine level in the dead woman's body was the cause of death. Not only that, her death would have occurred within three hours of having received the fatal overdose. Postles later said Shipman's use of the drug was a serious miscalculation. A doctor would surely have known morphine is one of the few poisons that can remain in body tissue for centuries. Postles observed, "I was surprised I anticipated that I would have had difficulty if he gave them something in way of poison lost in background substance.
Shipman would claim later that the stylish and conservative old lady was a junkie. Even today psychologists speculate on the possibility that he wanted to be caught. Otherwise, why would he hand them the typewriter and use a drug so easily traced back to him? Others believe he saw himself as invincible, believing that, as a doctor, his word would never be questioned. The detective realized the case went far beyond one death, and the scope of the investigation was broadened immediately. Just which deaths to investigate became the priority. To decide, a scale was devised, based on patterns.
Those who had not been cremated and had died following a Shipman "house call" took precedence. Other issues were factored in, but obviously only uncremated bodies could yield tissue samples for examination.
Slightly different criteria were applied to the next group for police investigation. All cremated, they were investigated, mainly, on the basis of known pre-existing conditions, recorded causes of death, and Shipman's presence before they died. Whenever he could, the doctor had urged families to cremate their dead and had also stressed no further investigation was necessary.
It may seem strange now that no relatives found this peculiar, but people typically trust their doctors, especially in times of great stress. After all, the causes of deaths Shipman presented were rational, even though bereaved families were often surprised to learn of conditions their loved ones had never mentioned. Even if they had questioned the doctor, he had the computerized medical notes to prove patients had seen him for the very symptoms he cited as leading to causes of death. Police would later know he'd altered computer records to make everything match. Callously, Shipman made most of these changes within hours of his patients' deaths.
Often, immediately after killing, he would hurry to his office and adjust his records.
Harold Shipman: Mind Set On Murder by Peters Authro | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®
In the case of year-old Kathleen Grundy, he reinforced his later statement that she was a morphine junkie by inventing and backdating several entries. His sheer audacity in suggesting this highly respected woman had been scoring hits from drug dealers was overwhelmingly stupid. The moment he made the statement, his credibility crumbled. When Shipman first encountered the computer, he was technophobic.
But once he reluctantly agreed to embrace the then new technology, he declared himself a computer expert. This was consistent with his need to assert his superiority. But what the self-proclaimed computer wiz didn't know was that his hard drive recorded — to the second — every phony alteration he made to a patient's records. A taped interview with the Greater Manchester Police demonstrates this lack of knowledge:. Police Officer: I'll just remind you of the date of this lady's death — 11th May ' After 3 o'clock that afternoon, you have endorsed the computer with the date of 1st October '97 which is 10 months prior, 'chest pains'.
Harold Shipman - Mind Set on Murder : The True Story of Why Harold Shipman Was Addicted to Killing
See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD 7. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Explore Now. Buy As Gift. Overview In the graveyards in the market town of Hyde had some unusual early-morning visitors. Greater Manchester Police were exhuming the bodies of the elderly patients o a local doctor. The doctor concerned had been their GP for 21 years and had a reputation as the best in the area. But Dr Harold Frederick Shipman was a serial killer. A public inquiry has spent nearly four years investigating Dr Shipman's crimes They have traced them back more than 30 years and calculated the number of murder he committed to be in the region of Much of the fascinating material she uncovered did not make it to the final cut, and will appear in this book for the first time.
Transcripts will reveal the doctor's arrogance during police interviews, while exclusively obtained prison letters provide a revealing insight into his mind.
Harold Shipman: Mind Set On Murder: Why Shipman Killed And Killed Again, The True Story
And with the help of criminal psychologists and those most closely involved in the case, this boo examines the clues and provides the answer to the question why? When the Shipman review was published yesterday its author Richard Baker said he could not say for certain the Shipman case was unique. David Canter, director of the Centre for Investigative Psychology in Liverpool, raised the chilling possibility that it could be a forerunner of cases to come. The theory is that as the human race in the 21st century thinks of itself increasingly as nothing more than a collection of physical bodies in an evermore materialistic society, then there will be individuals on the extremes who come to believe they are dealing not with people but with objects.
He said: "This is one of the arguments for the increase of serial killers. Is it possible Shipman came to see his patients as nothing but objects, no more valuable than his lists? Professor Canter believes he may talk. He said: "Who knows, in 10 or 15 years when there's nothing else in his life he may think it interesting to talk about what he has done.
Yesterday, as usual, Harold Shipman was woken shortly before 8am. If he followed his normal routine he would have washed and breakfasted before leaving his spartan home in the healthcare centre of Frankland prison, near Durham, for one of the prison workshops. Topics UK news. Harold Shipman Health Crime. Reuse this content.