New Harold Shipman Documentary To Air On BBC
The BBC have announced the release of a new documentary which is set to explore the crimes of notorious serial killer Harold Shipman.
Shipman was a GP who killed hundreds of his patients over several years.
In January 2000, Shipman was convicted of murdering 15 of his patients, but a later inquiry which was launched after the trial concluded that Shipman had probably murdered around 260 of his patients, over two decades.
The inquiry identified 215 victims and estimated his total victim count at 250, about 80% of whom were elderly women. His youngest confirmed victim was a 41-year-old man, although 'significant suspicion' arose that he had killed patients as young as four.
Shipman would give his patients diamorphine (or heroin), used for pain relief in cancer patients, to kill the unsuspecting people, who were mostly elderly single women.
In August of that year, John Shaw, a taxi driver, went to the police with suspicions about Shipman after many of his regular customers were dying.
He had been keeping a list since 1994, but was discouraged from going to the police with it by his wife who said he could be sued if he was wrong. However by the time his list reached 23, he decided something had to be done.
While John Shaw's statement got Shipman on the police's radar it was actually greed that finally got him caught. Shipman had killed Kathleen Grundy and forged a will that left her entire estate of £386,000 to him.
Her daughter Angela Woodruff, a lawyer, reported it to the police and he was apprehended for fraud.
The BBC say: "Far from all being elderly and ill, as is often reported, many of Shipman's victims were in fine health and some were middle-aged. Re-investigating the case, the series will reveal the context and social attitudes of late 20th century Britain, exploring whether deference to doctor's authority and attitudes to the elderly meant that a murderous GP remained at large for so long."
The documentary is part of a three-part BBC Four series, which also included The Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story, that aired in March and explored the crimes of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe.
Commissioning Editor Abigail Priddle said, "As 'The Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story' so powerfully showed, no crime or criminal exists in a vacuum and this critical re-examination of these terrible events will endeavour to reveal the systematic failings and cultural attitudes that allowed Shipman to go undetected for so long at such terrible human cost."
The show will air on BBC4 later this year.
Featured Image Credit: PA