This book, the first of a trilogy, takes the reader into the essentially private world of doctors, each from different backgrounds but all with one common thread running through their lives - they were all English general medical practitioners and they were all put on trial for murder.
See below for details of this three book series.
This first work is concerned iwth the case of Dr Harold Shipman, one of the most prolific serial killers in British legal history, and it seeks to answer the most important question of all. Why a well respected, popular family GP, and prominent member of his local community, was at the same time killing over 215 of his trusting and mainly elderly patients in what has been described as 'near perfect crimes'. His early life and medical career are examined to identify a possible 'trigger' to explain his killing obsession, culminating in his eventual arrest and trial. It also considers the numerous failings of those systems which were designed to safeguard patients, yet failed so miserably. It considers the findings of the definitive Shipman Inquiry, which was divided into two distinct parts.
The first part examined the individual deaths of Shipman's patients, whilst the second part examined the systems in place that failed to identify his crimes. The Inquiry Team also carried out a separate investigation into all the deaths certified by Shipman during his time as a junior doctor at Pontefract General Infirmary, West Yorkshire.
The Inquiry published a total of six reports. The first concluded that Shipman killed at least 215 patients, the second report found that his last three victims could have been saved if the police investigation had been carried out more efficiently. The thris report found that by issuing death certificates stating 'natural causes' Shipman was able to evade investigation into deaths by the Coroner. The fourth report called for more stringent controls on the use and issuing of 'controlled' drugs. The fifth report on the regulation and monitoring of GPs, criticised the General Medical Council (the GMC) and recommended an overhaul of its constitution to ensure it was more focused on protecting patients rather than doctors. The sixth and final report, published in 2005, concluded that Shipman had killed in the region of 250 patients.
This work concludes with an assessment of those psychological traits which may provide a final clue to that elusive question: why?
The Last Temptation: The Trial of Dr Harold Shipman
This book, the first of a trilogy, takes the reader into the essentially private world of doctors, each from different backgrounds but all with one common threat running through their lives - they were all English general medical practitioners and they were all put on trial for murder.
However, the motives in each case were very different, encompassing ultimate power of life and death, greed and revenge, each playing a prominent role in their respective lives. Each one of these cases has received widespread public attention in the past and been the subject of numerous publicatons. However, these works are unique in that they approach the subject of 'medical murder' in an entirely innovative way.
The books begin by outlining the backgrounds of each defendant before progressing to the criminal investiagtions leading to the arrest of the defendants, and finally culminating in the trials themselves.
By adopting this approach, the author's intention is to totally involve the reader in each case right from the outset, rather than to allow them to remain simply passive observers.
As each story unfolds, the reader is presented with all the relevant facts relating to each case. When the trial itself is reached, all the available evidence is presented to the reader as would be the case in actual trials. It is envisaged that by the time this stage has been reached, readers will find themselves in the position similar to that of members of the jury in the respective trials.
The books conclude with a brief overview of each case before finally inviting the reader to consider their own verdict based on the evidence they have before them.
The overall aim of these works is to invite the reader to exercise their own judgement in a practical yet enjoyable way, and to consider and better understand the complexities inherent in criminal investigations and trials, and to provide an insight into the often misunderstood and largely unseen workings of the Criminal Justice System as administered in Britain.