Harold Shipman was a British doctor who was convicted of murdering 15 of his patients, although it is believed that he may have killed as many as 250 victims. His life explored below.
Lately there have been a connection among serial killers like Ian Brady, Myra Hindley, and Lucy Letby whose crimes involved baby killings.
Letby, however, has been tagged the worst baby killer in modern British history even ahead of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
Another health practitioner who also targeted patients is Harold Shipman who made headline after he was found guilty of murdering his patients. He was dubbed “Dr Death” on social media.
Murderers like Lucy Letby and Harold Shipman may be attracted by caring roles, per report by The Guardian.
After police intervened following a thorough investigation, Shipman was sent to prison for life for his crimes, but who was he and what happened to him?
Who was Harold Shipman?
Harold Shipman (real name: Harold Frederick Shipman Jr, known to acquaintances as Fred Shipman) was an English general practitioner and serial killer. He was nicknamed Dr Death or The Angel Of Death from his crimes and his arrest.
Harold Shipman became known for being one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history, with an estimated 250 victims.
He was born on January 14, 1946 on the Bestwood Estate, a council estate in Nottingham.
His parents were Vera Shipman and Harold Shipman and had two siblings whose names are Pauline Shipman and Clive Shipman.
Shipman was particularly close to his mother, who died of lung cancer when he was aged 17. His mother’s lingering death from lung cancer in June 1963 had a profound effect on the psyche of young Harold.
He was an avid rugby player as a child.
In September 1965 he enrolled at Leeds University Medical School. He met his future wife on a double decker during his daily trips to Leeds.
On November 5, 1966, he married Primrose May Oxtoby and the couple went on to have four children together. The names of his kids are Sam Shipman, Sarah Shipman, Christopher Shipman and David Shipman.
What did Harold Shipman do for a living?
Shipman worked as a doctor which is how he had access to his victims.
He studied medicine at Leeds School of Medicine, University of Leeds before graduating in 1970.
His work started at Pontefract General Infirmary, Yorkshire, and in 1974 took his first position as a general practitioner (GP) at the Abraham Ormerod Medical Centre in Todmorden.
The following year, Shipman was caught forging prescriptions of pethidine for his own use.
He was fined £600 and briefly attended a drug rehabilitation clinic in York.
He continued working as a GP in Manchester and then opened his own surgery at 21 Market Street in 1993.
How was Harold Shipman caught?
Shipman was first investigated in March 1998 when Dr Linda Reynolds expressed concerns to John Pollard, the coroner for the South Manchester District, about the high death rate among Shipman’s patients.
She was concerned about the large number of cremation forms for elderly women that he had asked to have countersigned.
However, police were unable to find sufficient evidence to bring charges and closed the investigation on 17 April.
After the investigation was closed, Shipman went on to kill three more people.
A few months later, in August, taxi driver John Shaw told the police that he suspected Shipman of murdering 21 patients.
He became suspicious because multiple of the elderly customers he took to the hospital died in Shipman’s care
Shipman was found to have forged a will and patient notes before being arrested on September 7, 1998.
Who were Harold Shipman’s victims?
Shipman was charged with the murders of 15 women by lethal injections of diamorphine, all between 1995 and 1998. However, it is thought he may have killed up to 250 people.
Shipman’s confirmed victims were:
- Marie West
- Irene Turner
- Lizzie Adams
- Jean Lilley
- Ivy Lomas
- Muriel Grimshaw
- Marie Quinn
- Kathleen Wagstaff
- Bianka Pomfret
- Norah Nuttall
- Pamela Hillier
- Maureen Ward
- Winifred Mellor
- Joan Melia
- Kathleen Grundy
On January 31, 2000, after six days of deliberation, the jury found Shipman guilty of 15 counts of murder and one count of forgery.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment on all 15 counts of murder, with a recommendation that he be subject to a whole life tariff, to be served concurrently with a sentence of four years for forging Grundy’s will.
Why did Harold Shipman do what he did?
His motives were unclear; some speculated that Shipman may have been seeking to avenge the death of his mother, while others suggested that he thought he was practicing euthanasia, removing from the population older people who might otherwise have become a burden to the health care system.
The Shipman case made people more uncomfortable about the control doctors can have over the end of someone’s life. People who had previously placed blind faith in the medical community became newly aware of the sheer power of the doctor, who held the hand of patients as they walked the tightrope between life and death.
Did Harold Shipman admit to any murders?
Shipman denied his crimes, disputing the scientific evidence against him.
He never made any public statements about his actions.
His wife also maintained that he was not guilty, even after his conviction.
What happened to Harold Shipman and is he still alive?
Shipman hanged himself in his cell at HM Prison Wakefield at 6:20 a.m. on January 13, 2004, aged 57.
He was pronounced dead at 8:10 a.m.
A statement from Her Majesty’s Prison Service said that he had hanged himself from the window bars of his cell using his bed sheets.