A Spine-Chilling Harold Shipman Documentary Is Coming To The BBC
A new documentary exploring the heinous crimes of notorious serial killer Harold Shipman, a GP who killed hundreds of his patients, is coming to BBC.
In January 2000, Shipman was convicted of murdering 15 of his patients, though an inquiry launched after the trial concluded that Shipman had likely murdered 260 of his patients, with crimes spanning two decades.
Shipman would administer diamorphine (or heroin), used for pain relief in cancer patients, to kill the swathes of patients, who were generally elderly single women, in the small town.
Shipman would cover his tracks by falsifying records to make it seem as if his patients had a prior history of illness, and encouraging cremation, and discouraging relatives from requesting autopsies.
The Harold Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story will see filmmaker Chris Wilson meet friends and relatives of Shipman's victims, some of whom will be speaking for the first time.
He will also speak to police officers who investigated the case as well as lawyers and doctors who were involved in the inquiry to reveal a more complex picture than has been told before.
Shipman's sick scheme finally unravelled in March 1998 when Linda Reynolds of the Donneybrook Surgery in Hyde, expressed concerns to the South Manchester District's chief coroner about the high death rate among Shipman's patients, namely the large number of elderly women whose cremations he had countersigned. However, the case was dropped due to insufficient evidence.
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In August of the same 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 police's radar it was 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."
Produced by Wall to Wall Media, 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.
Filmmaker Chris Wilson said: "There have been many films about Harold Shipman. Most attempt to take us 'inside-the-mind' of a serial killer. But none have fully explored the historical, cultural and social context that enabled a medical professional to take the lives of hundreds of trusting patients over more than two decades.
Featured Image Credit: PA