Harold Shipman: “Dr. Death” Britain's Biggest Serial Killer

Harold Shipman: “Dr. Death” Britain's Biggest Serial Killer

Dr. Harold Shipman, Also known as “Dr. Death”, I don't know if you've heard this name before, but you're probably never going to forget it. Shipman, a mysterious man who is believed to have killed 218 patients. 

Harold Frederick Shipman (born January 14, 1946, Nottingham, England — died January 13, 2004, Wakefield), British doctor and serial killer. Shipman was born to a working-class family in Manchester. A bright child, he became interested in medicine as he watched his mother receive injections of morphine to ease the pain she suffered while dying of lung cancer. Shipman has studied medicine at the Leeds School of Medicine as a scholarship student. During his student life, he was a self-contained student who was distant, different, and far from other people. In 1970 he received a medical degree and became a general practitioner in Todmorden, Lancashire.

After working as a general practitioner in various hospitals, he opened his own examination office in the early 1990s. He was a brilliant and respectable doctor, and he was interviewed in a documentary also. Harold Shipman began his murderous spree in 1972, and he is believed to have killed at least 71 patients while working at his first practice, and to have doubled that number at his second practice.

In March 1998, Dr. Linda Reynolds expressed concern to officials in South Manchester about the high number of cremation certificates signed by Shipman. They also noticed striking similarities in recently deceased patients. But the police were unable to find sufficient evidence to bring charges, and the investigation was closed on 17 April.

After the investigation was closed, three more people lost their lives. The last victim was Kathleen Grundy, who died at home on June 24, 1998. The 81-year-old woman was found dead in her home only hours after Shipman had visited her. Her family was perplexed by the suddenness of her death (she seemed to be in good health), by the fact that her will had been changed to benefit Shipman, and by Shipman 's insistence that no autopsy was needed. Then the victim's daughter, lawyer Angela Woodruff, claimed that not only did he kill her mother, but he also tried to create a new, totally bogus will, naming him as her sole beneficiary. But this time unlike his previous victims, Grundy was not cremated, and the autopsy revealed a fatally high level of diamorphine in victim body (a drug used by Shipman for most of the killings). He was formally charged with 15 murders and sentenced to life without parole in 2000. 

A government investigation was ordered to determine how many more patients Shipman may have killed; in 2002, an official report found that he had killed at least 215 people and possibly as many as 260, including men and women between the ages of 47 and 93. In most cases, Shipman administered a lethal dose of painkiller diamorphine to the victim and then signed a death certificate attributing the incident to natural causes. And, in 2004, Shipman committed suicide while in prison. He's never admitted to any of the killings.