From the dock at Preston Crown Court, Shipman showed no emotion as the verdict was read out: guilty to 15 murders and forging the will of one of his patients.
In sentencing Shipman to life imprisonment the judge, Mr Justice Thayne Forbes, said:
“Each victim was your patient. You murdered each and every one by a calculated and cold-blooded perversion of his medical skills.”
“You brought them death, disguised by the attentiveness of a good doctor.”
All Shipman’s victims were women and none was suffering from a serious illness when she died. Each one died suddenly after a visit from Shipman.
The court was told how the doctor would visit the victims in their homes and administer a lethal dose of morphine.
The alarm was raised by solicitor Angela Woodruff, the daughter of Kathleen Grundy, Shipman’s last victim. Shipman arrived at Mrs Grundy’s home on the pretext of giving her a blood test and had, in fact, given her a massive dose of morphine.
He then crudely forged her will so he would benefit from her substantial estate.
Much of Britain’s legal structure concerning health care and medicine was reviewed and modified as a result of Shipman’s crimes. He is the only British doctor to have been found guilty of murdering his patients, although other doctors have been acquitted of similar crimes or convicted on lesser charges.
Shipman died on 13 January 2004, one day prior to his 58th birthday, by hanging himself in his cell at Wakefield Prison.
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