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Dr. Harold Frederick SHIPMAN






A.K.A.: "Doctor Death"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Poisoner - One of the most prolific serial killers in recorded history
Number of victims: 15 - 215 +
Date of murders: 1974-1975 / 1977-1998
Date of arrest: September 7, 1998
Date of birth: January 14, 1946
Victims profile: Marie West, 81 / Irene Turner, 67 / Lizzie Adams, 77 / Jean Lilley, 59 / Ivy Lomas, 63 / Muriel Grimshaw, 76 / Marie Quinn, 67 / Kathleen Wagstaff, 81 / Bianka Pomfret, 49 / Norah Nuttall, 64 / Pamela Hillier, 68 / Maureen Ward, 57 / Winifred Mellor, 73 / Joan Melia, 73 / Kathleen Grundy, 81 (patients)
Method of murder: Poisoning (lethal injections of diamorphine)
Location: West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Status: Found guilty of 15 murders. Sentenced to life imprisonment and the judge recommended that he never be released on January 31, 2000. Committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell at Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire on January 13, 2004

The 15 victims

The Greater Manchester doctor Harold Shipman has been found guilty of murdering 15 women - making him the biggest convicted serial killer in the UK in recent history. He was also convicted of forging the will of one of them.


Marie West

Harold Shipman murdered Marie West, 81, at her home on March 6, 1995, unaware that her friend was in the next room.

Marion Hadfield was waiting in the pensioner's kitchen while Dr Shipman injected Mrs West with diamorphine.

Shipman later claimed that Mrs West had died of a massive stroke. Police found her medical records at the doctor's home.


Irene Turner

Mrs Turner, 67, had a complicated medical history and had recently returned from holiday with a cold when she was visited at home by Shipman on 11 July, 1996.

The doctor killed her with a morphine injection. As she lay dying, Shipman then asked neighbour Sheila Ward to pack clothes for Mrs Turner as she needed to go to hospital.

Shipman later claimed Mrs Turner died from diabetes. After exhumation, Mrs Turner's body was found to contain morphine.


Lizzie Adams

Harold Shipman claimed he had phoned an ambulance for Lizzie Adams when he was discovered in her home on 28 February, 1997 by one of her friends.

He then pretended to cancel it when it was clear the 77-year-old dancing teacher was dead. Phone records show no such calls were made.

Shipman said she died of pneumonia. Her medical records were found in a carrier bag in his garage.


Jean Lilley

Shipman called at Mrs Lilley's home on 25 April, 1997. A neighbour saw him leave and went to see her friend, but found her dead.

Shipman said the 59-year-old had died of heart failure. A pathologist found no evidence of severe heart problems and found cause of death to be morphine poisoning.


Ivy Lomas

Dr Shipman killed Ivy Lomas, 63, at his surgery on May 29, 1997. He then carried on seeing other patients before telling anyone she had died. He also altered her medical records two days later.

Shipman told police and his receptionist conflicting stories of how she had died. The court heard how the GP had considered Mrs Lomas a "nuisance", because she was such a regular attender at the surgery.

He joked about having a sign over seats in the waiting room saying "Reserved for Ivy Lomas".



Muriel Grimshaw

Mrs Grimshaw, 76, was found dead in her home on 14 July, 1997 by her daughter Ann Brown. Dr Shipman claimed she had died from a stroke and hypertension.

He then altered her medical records to hide her cause of death. Mrs Grimshaw's body was exhumed and a pathologist found high levels of morphine.


Marie Quinn

Dr Shipman killed Marie Quinn by injecting her with morphine at her home on 24 November, 1997.

He told her son that Mrs Quinn had phoned him saying she thought she'd had a stroke. The doctor said she was dead by the time he arrived at her home.

Phone records show no such call was made. Nor was there any evidence that Mrs Quinn had suffered from problems he said she had.


Kathleen (Laura) Wagstaff

Harold Shipman confused Mrs Wagstaff with another patient and called at the wrong house.

After injecting the 81-year-old with morphine on 9 December, 1997, he claimed her death was due to heart disease.

Shipman also said he had received a call to attend Mrs Wagstaff - but records show no such call was made and no evidence of heart disease was found.


Bianka Pomfret

Mrs Pomfret phoned Shipman for a home visit on 10 December, 1997, and she was later found dead in her chair. Shipman claimed she had heart trouble and had died of coronary thrombosis and ischaemic heart disease.

Experts founds Shipman had altered Mrs Pomfret's records, in the hour before her body was discovered, to generate a backdated history of heart disease.

A pathologist found excessive morphine levels in her exhumed body.


Norah Nuttall

Shipman visited Mrs Nuttall at her home on 26 January, 1998. Less than an hour later her son returned to find his mother slumped in a chair.

Dr Shipman said he had called an ambulance; when Mrs Nuttall was found to be dead he pretended to make another call to cancel it.

Phone records showed the GP had neither ordered nor cancelled an ambulance.


Pamela Hillier

Mrs Hillier was an active 68-year-old who was stripping wallpaper the week before her death. She was found dead on 9 February, 1998, by paramedics who said the police should be told.

Dr Shipman said she had died of a massive stroke and there was no need for a post mortem.

Police computer experts found he had made 10 changes to her medical records in the two hours before her body was found to support his diagnosis.


Maureen Ward

Miss Ward, 57, had been suffering from cancer but was not in ill health at the time of her death on 18 February, 1998. Shipman reported her death to the warden at the flats where she lived, saying the cause was a brain tumour.

Shipman murdered her using diamorphine, before reporting that her sudden death had been caused by a brain tumour.

He then altered her medical records to suggest her cancer had spread to her brain. But a cancer specialist who had seen her a month earlier told the court there were no signs that her cancer had returned.


Winifred Mellor

Mrs Mellor, 73, was found dead in her chair on 11 May, 1998, having been complaining of a sinus problem. Shipman was reported to have visited her earlier in the day.

After a cursory examination of Mrs Mellor, Shipman claimed she had died of coronary thrombosis - despite the fact she was fit enough to go on a two-hour walk only weeks before her death.

After poisoning her with morphine, Shipman altered her medical records to make it look like she had complained to him of chest pains.


Joan Melia

Mrs Melia, 73, visited Shipman at his surgery on 12 June, 1998, suffering from a chest infection. He made a house call to her the same day and she was later found dead in her chair.

The GP did not bother to examine Mrs Melia before issuing a death certificate for pneumonia aggravated by emphysema.

A pathologist later found evidence of morphine but not of serious lung problems.


Kathleen Grundy

Mrs Grundy was in good health and very active the day before her death on 24 June, 1998. She was visited by Shipman early that morning for a blood sample and was later found dead, sitting on her settee.

When her body was exhumed one month later, high amounts of morphine were found. There was no record of any blood sample having been taken and Shipman also falsified written and computer records to make it look as though Mrs Grundy was a drug abuser.

Shipman was also charged with faking Mrs Grundy's will, changing it to look as though she had left all her 400,000 estate to him.

Police said the 'will' was typed on a typewriter found at Dr Shipman's office and that the signatures of Mrs Grundy and the witnesses had been forged.



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