The Shipman Files, Harold Shipman victims

The Shipman Files: BBC2 explores Harold Shipman’s heinous crimes

The three-parter tells the horrifying tale of GP Harold Shipman and his many victims

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Harold Shipman and his disturbing murders are the focus of The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story on BBC2.

The Shipman Files recounts the sinister true story of the serial killer, focusing on his victims.

Harold killed at least 15 of his patients during the course of his long career as a GP.

The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story
The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story airs this week over three nights (Credit: BBC)

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But why did he kill? And where is he now?

Who was Harold Shipman?

Harold Shipman studied medicine at Leeds School of Medicine, and graduated in 1970.

He began working at Pontefract General Infirmary in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, and in 1974 started work as a GP at the Abraham Ormerod Medical Centre in Todmorden.

Mr Shipman went on to work as a GP in Manchester, before getting his own practice.

The popular doctor began murdering elderly patients.

His nickname was Dr Death because of his disgusting crimes.

The Shipman Files
The relatives of victim George Fisher, Susan Plant and Sylvia Fisher, appear in the documentary (Credit: BBC)

How many people did Harold Shipman kill?

Harold Shipman killed at least 15 men and women over the course of his 20-year career.

Harold murdered at least 250 victims, according to the police.

He is the UK’s most prolific serial killer.

Who were Harold Shipman’s victims?

Harold’s victims were mostly elderly women and men, who died quietly in their own homes.

The victims, although old, would not have died if Harold hadn’t killed them as there was nothing wrong with them.

Kathleen Grundy was Shipman’s last victim.

The mayoress of Hyde died at her home in 1998 at the age of 81.

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Shipman was the last person to see her alive and he signed her death certificate recording the cause of death as old age.

She had left £386,000 to Shipman in her will, causing her daughter to report him to the police.

Grundy’s body contained traces of diamorphine (heroin).

The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story
Harold Shipman victim Jack Shelmerdine (Credit: BBC)

When was Harold Shipman caught?

In 1998, the high death rate among Shipman’s patients started raising alarm bells among the community.

The police closed the case, after finding insignificant evidence against him.

He was arrested on 7 September 1998.

Harold was charged with 15 counts of murder, and one of forgery.

He was convicted of all the crimes, following a trial at Preston Crown Court in October 1999.

Where is Harold Shipman now?

Harold was sentenced to life in prison in 2000.

The judge recommended he never be released.

Harold Shipman hung himself in his prison cell, the day before his 58th birthday.

He committed suicide on 13 January 2004 in HMP Wakefield.

His victims knew they would never get the answers they craved about why he committed the crimes.

Harold Shipman C4 News 2001
Harold Shipman killed himself in prison (Credit: C4 News / YouTube)

What was The Shipman Inquiry?

The Shipman Inquiry investigated the activities of the former GP.

It blamed the police for putting inexperienced officers on the case.

Was Harold Shipman married?

Harold Shipman married Primrose Shipman.

Harold and Primrose had four children together.

Primrose denied Shipman’s guilt throughout the trial.

She received his pension after his death.

The Shipman Files: A Very British Story starts on BBC Two on Monday 28 September at 9pm, and continues on Tuesday and Wednesday

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Helen Fear
TV Editor