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Old 01-13-2004, 10:07 AM   #1
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Harold Shipman found dead

Killer doctor Harold Shipman has died after being found hanging in his cell in Wakefield Prison.

Shipman was discovered at 0620 GMT on Tuesday by staff who tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at 0810 GMT.

He was jailed for life in January 2000 for murdering 15 patients while working in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

An official report later concluded he killed between 215 and 260 people over a 23-year period in Hyde and Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

The 57-year-old GP was given 15 life sentences to run concurrently for the murders, and four years for forging a will.

He was the UK's most prolific convicted serial killer, but always denied his crimes.

Jane Ashton-Hibbert, whose grandmother Hilda was unlawfully killed by Shipman, said she was angry he had been allowed to die.

She told BBC News: "This seems like an easy way out for him. He never showed any remorse or any guilt and that door is now closed to us."
I just wish he had been forthcoming and admitted he had done those things - it would have put a lot of people's minds at rest

And Kathleen Wood, whose 83-year-old mother Bessie Baddeley died in 1997, said: "I am not sorry he has gone, but it brings it all back and it stirs it all up for us again."

A Prison Service spokeswoman said he used bedsheets to hang himself from the window bars of his cell.

"He was showing no signs whatsoever of pre-suicidal behaviour at all," she said.

"He was behaving utterly normally. He was working as normal and doing education as normal.

"There was absolutely no indication that this was coming and he was giving no cause for concern."

Shipman widow

Prisons Minister Paul Goggins said prisons ombudsman Stephen Shaw would carry out an investigation into Shipman's death.

A separate police and coroner inquiry is also to be carried out.

Shortly after 1100 GMT, an undertaker's van took Shipman's body from Wakefield prison to the Medico Legal Centre in Sheffield for a post-mortem and formal identification.

The GP, who leaves a widow, Primrose, was on suicide watch at two other prisons earlier in his sentence, but not at Wakefield since his arrival on 18 June last year.

I don't think it fair or reasonable to suggest prison officers at Wakefield Prison were lax

Last month it emerged that the serial killer had been stripped of his privileges at Wakefield because of poor behaviour.

But the benefits - such as a television in his cell and the right to wear personal clothing - were returned last week.

A police officer read a statement to the media from outside Primrose Shipman's house in Walshford, West Yorkshire.

It said there would be no comment from the Shipman family and added: "They have asked you to respect their privacy. This is a very upsetting time for them."

Within hours of his death, the word "justice" had been scrawled 12 times across his former surgery in Hyde.

The vast majority of Shipman's victims were elderly women who were given lethal heroin injections.

He was brought to justice after attempting to forge the 386,000 will of one of his victims, Kathleen Grundy, 81.

After the trial, a public inquiry was launched into how the GP was able to escape detection for so long.

It was chaired by High Court judge Dame Janet Smith, whose first report, in 2002, found the former GP had killed at least 215 patients and possibly as many as 260.

Her final report is due out in the summer.

Of Shipman's 215 likely victims, 171 were women and 44 were men.

The oldest was a 93-year-old woman, the youngest a 41-year-old man.

what does everyone else think of this?

I think he was an arrogant man and in killing himself wanted to retain whatever power he had left, nobody will ever find out what happened to all of his victims (over 260 people) and he made sure of that by taking that information with him to the grave.

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Old 01-13-2004, 10:11 AM   #2
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Here is another report about him:

The apparent suicide of Harold Shipman prompts two questions: why would he take his own life, and how could he have done it?

The second is the most pressing. The way that one of Britain's most notorious killers was apparently able to hang himself in his cell is a serious embarrassment for the Prison Service.

Shipman is not the first high-profile prisoner to contemplate death rather than face a long prison sentence. Fred West took his own life before he could be tried for the House of Horrors killings, leaving his wife, Rosemary, to face justice alone.

More recently, Ian Huntley attempted suicide while he was in prison awaiting his trial for the Soham murders. While the families of Harold Shipman's many victims may feel satisfaction at his death, some have already said that he cheated justice by taking the easy way out.

Shock and revulsion

Few cases in recent years have aroused such shock and revulsion. The fact that a trusted family doctor could kill so many of his patients was hard to believe, let alone understand.

It is a case that will live in the public's memory long after the death of Harold Shipman.

There is no question that he would have remained in prison until he died of illness or old age. The Home Secretary decided that the horrific nature of the doctor's crimes placed him in a special category of prisoners for whom life should really mean life.

One immediate question is why Shipman was not on suicide watch at Wakefield Prison. Any prisoner faced with spending the rest of his life behind bars is likely to wonder if there is any point in living.

The Moors murderer Ian Brady, another of Britain's most notorious serial killers, craves death. He has tried - unsuccessfully - to persuade the courts to allow him to starve himself to death. He remains in a secure hospital, being fed against his wishes.

Harold Shipman was no doubt thinking about his own life in custody when he decided to end it all on the eve of his 58th birthday.

Exercising power

The nature of his crimes gives us a clue about the way his mind may have been working. For decades, Shipman literally exercised the power of life and death over his patients.

Using his hypodermic syringe, he ended the lives of more than 200 of his patients, the exact number will never be known.

For the families of those Shipman killed - or is suspected of killing - his death robs them of any lingering hope of finding out exactly what happened to their loved ones.

In trying to explain why he did what he did, some have pointed to an incident in Shipman's childhood, when he had to watch his mother die a lingering death from a painful illness.

As a doctor, he acquired the power to end the lives of others, and he used that power to deadly effect. Many of his victims died suddenly at home after the doctor paid them a visit.

Little emotion

I remember Harold Shipman in court, during his trial. For day after day he sat quietly in the dock, his face betraying little emotion. He would never acknowledge his crimes, even when faced with damning evidence. After his conviction, he never showed any remorse.

Psychiatrists who examined him in prison came to the conclusion that he would never be able to talk about what he had done or why he had done it. He was unable to admit his guilt to himself, so he would never be able to acknowledge it to others. His motivation for the crimes remained locked inside his head.

Behind bars, Harold Shipman could no longer control others. Yet he still retained one power: the ability to end his life.

As the ultimate control freak, he would no doubt have taken satisfaction in choosing the exact moment of his own death.

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Old 01-13-2004, 10:43 AM   #3
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Behind bars, Harold Shipman could no longer control others. Yet he still retained one power: the ability to end his life.

As the ultimate control freak, he would no doubt have taken satisfaction in choosing the exact moment of his own death.
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