Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dr. Harold Shipman, the World's Most Prolific Serial Killer

The Trial: Week Two

Shipman with his staff
Shipman with his staff (CAVENDISH PRESS/UK)

In the second week, Shipman's former staff and colleagues were called to bear witness. 

District nurse Marion Gilchrist took the oath and immediately burst into tears.  Regaining her composure, she told how Shipman had reacted when he realized he would be arrested any moment.

The doctor had broken down and he said, "I read thrillers and on the evidence they have I would have me guilty," But the nurse said she took it as black humor when he said, "The only thing I did wrong was not having her cremated.  If I had had her cremated I wouldn't be having all this trouble."

Another patient, whose statement was read out in court, described Shipman's feelings on the will when he told her, "If I could bring her back...I would say look at all the trouble it's caused. I was going to say I didn't want the money but because of all this trouble, I will have it."  He had claimed he would use most of the money for philanthropic causes.

The last part of the Grundy case heard evidence from GP Dr. John Grenville. 

Analyzing Shipman's medical notes, he spoke of how he would have behaved quite differently under the circumstances.

Whereas Dr. Shipman had quickly pronounced Kathleen Grundy dead, "I would examine the body carefully to ensure death had occurred...if I found no pulse at the neck, I would look for a more central point.

Grenville claimed he would have attempted to revive the patient — standard medical practice.

By now, onlookers were forming a picture of a very callous, inefficient defendant — this impression would only intensify in the grueling weeks ahead.

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