Harold Shipman is thought to be Britain's worst serial killer, killing a possible 215 people, mainly elderly patients, with overdoses of diamorphine. Born in Nottingham in 1946, his mother died when he was 17. It is thought his fascination with death began here. Marrying his wife, Primrose, in 1965, he first began practicing as a GP in Hyde, Greater Manchester, in 1979. Six years later, an investigation into death rates among his patients led to no action.
Investigated again in 1998 after another GP expressed concern, he is known to have killed three patients before his arrest. With many bodies exhumed, he was tried at Preston Crown Court in 1999 and found guilty of fifteen murders. Arrogant and unrepentant, Shipman hanged himself in his cell in January 2004.
© Anthony North, Feb 2007