Harold Shipman was a reputable medical doctor with his own surgical clinic, respected by his peers and British society. Dr. Shipman was a well-regarded member of the medical community from the 1980s into the mid-90s, but his gleaming reputation would soon be shattered and he would be revealed as one of the most infamous and cold-hearted serial murderers of modern times.
Dr. Shipman was revealed to have murdered his patients by dosing them with lethal amounts of diamorphine. His victim count is believed to be over 250 patients, however he was eventually only convicted for 15 of their deaths.
He was also convicted for forging a will, and it was discovered years later that he had stolen over £10,000 worth of jewelry from his victims.
Suspicion was first cast over Dr. Shipman after he was caught forging prescriptions for himself in 1970. He was fined a sum of money, but otherwise allowed to continue to build his career. After he opened his own surgical clinic, his peers began to notice a disturbing trend.
Dr. Shipman’s clients kept dying off, in alarming numbers. The mortality rate of his practice caused concern from the director of a local funeral parlor, who took the issue up with Dr. Linda Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds then made some inquiries with the South Manchester District coroner—particularly regarding the large number of elderly women who had been cremated.
She was suspicious that Dr. Shipman was killing his patients, and signing off on their deaths as ‘natural’ causes. The subsequent investigation led nowhere.
Then, a daughter of one of Dr. Shipman’s deceased patients came forward with suspicions of her own. Angela Woodruff’s mother, Kathleen Grundy, was found dead in her apartment. Her death certificate stated that she passed of “old age,” however shortly afterward Angela was alerted by her lawyer that £360,000 had been left to Dr. Shipman in Kathleen’s will.
In doubting the authenticity of the will, Angela demanded that her mother’s body be exhumed and reexamined.
It was concluded that she was given a lethal dose of diamorphine, and investigators soon discovered a typewriter with which Dr. Shipman had faked Kathleen’s will.
Finally the true nature of this doctor of death came to light.
In January, 2000 Dr. Shipman was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of 15 patients.
Dr. Shipman eventually hanged himself in his jail cell, after serving just four years of his time.