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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 14 January 1946Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, UK
Date of Death 13 January 2004Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, UK  (suicide by hanging in prison)
Birth NameHarold Frederick Shipman
Nicknames Freddy
Doctor Death

Mini Bio (1)

Dr. Harold Shipman was born the son of Vera and Harold Shipman. He was the middle of 3 children. His father was a lorry driver and his mother a home maker. In 1957 he studied at High Pavement grammar school (6th form). He was an avid rugby player as a child. His mother's lingering death from lung cancer in June 1963 had a profound effect on the psyche of young Harold. In September 1965 he enrolled at Leeds University Medical School. He met his future wife on a double decker during his daily trips to Leeds. After medical school he got his first medical job at Pontefarct General Infirmary where he worked for 3.5 years. In March 1974 he joined a group practice in Todmorden. While there he was very involved in social functions like the Rochdale Canal Commission. It was during his time there that the first signs of his criminal behavior were noticed. He started having blackouts in public that were initially thought to be epilepsy. In July 1975 it was realized that he was prescribing a large amount of pethidine to his patients according to a pharmacy log. The patients were questioned but none of them admitted to ever having received the powerful narcotic. When Shipman was confronted by his colleagues he admitted to having acquired an opiate addiction from his days in medical school when he had accidentally tried it. That explained the 'blackouts'. He was advised to go to the Retreat in York (an institution that helped with drug addiction) if he wanted to keep his job. However in November 1975 he was charged with 'forgery of prescriptions'. The Shipman family disappeared from Todmorden. Dr. Shipman got a job at the National Coal Board in Doncaster where he did physicals on miners. In February of 1976 he had a job in County Durham for the SW Durham Health Authority. By 1977 he had secured a job with Donneybrook Medical Center in Hyde as part of a group practice. It is believed that some of his earliest victims may have been from his time here. In July 1992 Shipman left his practice to work at The Surgery. He would give his victims a lethal dose of morphine during a house visit and actually come by again when he believed them to be dead. At this time he would perform a cursory medical examination and pronounce his patient dead and no one would be the wiser. He generally preyed upon elderly women who lived alone as they made easy targets. However his youngest victim was 49 and he may have killed a few men as well. Even though his victims were middle aged or elderly they were not generally infirm at the time of death which made a lot of relatives suspicious about their premature deaths. His last victim died on 24 June, 1998. Shipman had apparently changed his patient's will which bequeathed her entire estate to him with nothing for her own daughter. The daughter obviously found this suspicious and alerted detectives. Her body was exhumed on August 1st and an autopsy was performed. Around this time a local taxi driver who did errands for most of his victims realized that they all had one thing in common - their doctor was Shipman. This further added suspicion to Shipman. The news of his crimes was released to the public only by 20 August, 1998. On September 2, 1998 the toxicology report proved that his victim had died from a fatal dose of morphine and not 'natural causes' as he had claimed in the death certificate. When he was initially confronted with the findings he claimed that his patient was a drug addict and he had covered up for her. He was formally arrested on September 7, 1998. In order to cover his tracks Dr. Shipman had made fake entrées in his patients files. Hoever a Visa card statement showed he was elsewhere at the time the extra entries had been made. The bodies of several of his patients were exhumed and examined for morphine. His computer at work was examined and its hard drive revealed when extra entries were made and dates changed on MedDoc. During his incarceration prior to trial he believed the police were conspiring to kill him, surprisingly the same way he killed his patients. He was initially in Strangeways jail in Manchester. Then he was moved to Preston prison later in 1998 and to Walton jail in Liverpool afterward. On 5 October, 1999 he was first arrragned in court and charged with 15 counts of murder an 1 count of forging a will. The trail began on Octber 11, 1999 and went on for a marathon 57 days. The jury retired on January 24 and deliberated until January 31, 2000. At 4:44 pm he was pronounced guilty and given 15 life sentences plus 4 years for forgery. It is officially believed he killed about 215 people making him one of the most prolific serial killers of all time. He killed 7 people in February 1998 alone! Harold Shipman was found dead in his prison cell on 13th January 2004, the day before what would have been his 58th birthday. Verdict: suicide by hanging.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Sujit R. Varma

Spouse (1)

Primrose Oxtoby (5 November 1966 - 13 January 2004) (his death) (4 children)

Trivia (4)

Briefly spent time in rehab in 1975 for addiction to Demerol.
Graduated from Leeds school of Medicine.
Roughly 80% of his victims were women.
He murdered at least 218 people, making him the most prolific serial killers in history.

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