see BBC Report
'Death rates soared in
the afternoon when he made his home visits'
ghoulish statistics of the doctor who took pleasure in
By Dave Brown - The
Independent, 07 January 2001
Harold Shipman was convicted last year
of murdering 15 female patients between March 1995 and
June 1998 while working at a practice in Hyde, Greater
Manchester. Investigators believe the death toll could
be as high as 345.
During his 24-year career the popular family GP certified
521 deaths, 499 while working in a group practice in Hyde.
The next highest number of death certificates issued by
any of the other six Hyde GPs was just 210.
He joined a practice in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, in
1974 and in his first 10 months issued just five death
certificates. But in the following nine months he certified
17 deaths - all but one of them died at home. Sixty-five
per cent of the deaths were female patients, compared
with 36 per cent elsewhere.
Six patients died at his surgery in Cross Street, Hyde
- including 82-year-old Jean Harding in 1994 and Bertha
Moss the following year - compared with two in the surgeries
of other GPs. Shipman was present at the deaths of a fifth
of his patients, compared with 0.8 per cent for other
Death occurred within 30 minutes for 60 per cent of Shipman's
patients, compared with less than a quarter for patients
of other GPs. And Shipman was likely to have visited the
patient within the previous two days, his peers not within
Investigators suspect that his first named victim was
76-year-old Mary Winterbottom, who was found "dead
on bed" by Shipman on 21 September 1984. He recorded
the cause of death as a coronary thrombosis, but Mrs Winterbottom's
family now want it classified as an "unlawful killing".
Later in the same day Shipman is believed to have claimed
his second victim, Eileen Cox, 72, who died at her home
in Hunters Court, Dunkfield.
Over the following five years he is suspected of killing
six named patients. But in 1993 this rose to nine, and
in 1994 there were eight. The death toll continued to
rise, with 14 in 1995, 20 the following year and 23 in
Of the 107 confirmed and named suspected victims just
eight were men. The first named suspected male victim,
Molesdale, died in December 1994. (The Shipman
Inquiry later found that John was not the first male victim.)
Half of the suspected male victims died during a five-month
period between August and December 1996.
Records of the excess deaths among Shipman's patients
at his surgery or in their homes show that women over
75 were more then three times more likely to die than
men of the same age.
Shipman's patients were seven times more likely to die
between 2pm and 4pm than those of other GPs. Death rates
among his patients were lower than normal during the night
and morning but soared during the early afternoon when
Shipman made his home visits.
Shipman oldest identified suspected victim was 92-year-old
Hilda Couzens who died in February 1993. His youngest
named suspected victim was 42-year-old Konrad Robinson
who died in November 1996. The youngest female victim
was Renata Overton, 47, who had died in April the previous
At least seven of the victims were residents of Ogden
Court sheltered housing block, which was close to his
surgery. Alice Prestwick, 69, died in October 1988, followed
by 81-year-old John Charlton 12 months later. Alice Kennedy,
88, died in January 1995, and 87-year-old Muriel Ward
died in October of that year. Gladys Saunders died in
June 1996 and James King, 83, on Christmas Eve 1997. Shipman's
final victim may have been 69-year-old Mary Alice Prestwich
- in October 1998.
see BBC Report