Dr Death: The Harold Shipman Story | Part Two



 (Harold Shipman prison photo. Picture credit: filmdaily.)

Continued from part one...

The undertaker at the family Funeral home was one of the first people to hear alarm bells ringing when he noticed the number of deaths of Harold's patients. They were mostly elderly women of good health and many of them lived on the same street. What was also strange was the manner in which their bodies were found, they all died fully dressed, many of them sat up in chairs. And they all seemed to have one thing in common...Harold Shipman was their Doctor and their death certificates and wills also raised eyebrows.

One of the elderly ladies who had died, Kathleen Grundy, apparently left a will stating that she wanted all of her money to go to Dr Shipman. The lady's daughter, Angela Woodruff, was a lawyer and looked into the situation further, she felt that the will was a forgery she knew there was no way that her mother, whom she was so close to, would leave her and her children out of her will, something did not add up.

The undertaker actually went to see Harold at his practice and asked him about the deaths. Harold made excuses that his patients were mostly elderly people in poor health and there was nothing to worry about. He still felt that something was not right and another Doctor who was aware of the situation decided to contact the coroner's office and the police became involved.

An investigation into Harold's practice and patient medical records ensued. Harold was cool as a cucumber and felt that he had all bases covered. The dark and sickening truth about Harold Shipman was that he was targeting his elderly patients, using a typewiter to falsify their records, claiming that the victims had been in poor health when they were perfectly fine and injecting them with lethal dosages of Diamorphine in order to get his hands on their money and valuables.

Harold tried to make sure that all of his patient's records were in perfect order and that there was a reasonable explanation on each person's file to expain their sudden death. The police found nothing to raise alarm and Harold managed to get away with it....for now.

Angela Woodruff was not about to let things go, she felt in her heart that Harold had murdered her mother and forged her will. At the time of her mother's death, Harold managed to manipulate Angela into refusing an autopsy for her mother. He was very clever at getting around people and one has to wonder how long had he been doing this for? How many other people died at the hands of Harold Shipman?

Harold made sure that his tracks were covered by persuading the families of his victims to have a cremation rather than a burial. Obviously at that point he must have been thinking ahead and wanted to make sure that if his crimes were ever investigated, there would be no remains left to be examined but some relatives were very clear that they wanted their loved ones buried.

(Some of the ladies who died at the hands of Harold Shipman. Picture credit: dailymail.co.uk)

Angela went to the police and the decision was taken that her mother's body must be exhumed for a proper examination. The results concluded that Kathleen had been given a lethal dosage of Diamorphine and this led to a thorough investigation, more victims being exhumed and a search of Harold's home and medical practice.

The cards were falling down around Harold and he didn't know what to do, he couldn't talk or charm his way out of this one. The evidence was now stacked up against him, especially when the police found thousands of pounds worth of jewellery in his garage. Harold even gave Primrose many of the items as gifts. The police also found the typewriter he had used to forge the medical documents and the wills.

There were so many possible victims that the police had to prioritise which cases they could prove with enough evidence. They decided to focus on the victims who had not been cremated and that they could prove that Harold had visited them at home and was the last person to see them alive.

The police managed to gather enough evidence to at least charge him for 15 of the victims even though he was suspected to have killed hundreds over the years. He was also charged with forgery.

It was time for Harold Shipman to face justice once and for all, there was no getting away with it this time.

Continued in part three...

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