The Trial of Dr John Bodkin Adams’ is David Holding’s sixth publication with Scott Martin Productions., and the second in our Doctors of Death Trilogy. The Trilogy centres on the criminal trials of three English general medical practitioners who stood trial for murder during the 20th century.Dr John Bodkin Adams practised as a GP in Eastbourne from the 1920s to the 1950s, and was tried and acquitted for the murder of a patient in 1957. He was regarded by some as a serial killer, and provided the model which was later followed by the infamous Doctor Harold Shipman - the subject of our first volume.
Read about “one of the greatest murder trials of the century”.
The author details the trial and looks into the legal principle of ‘double effect’ , inviting the reader to consider their own verdict based on all the evidence. The author’s legal experience and analytical thought processes are clearly in play throughout this fascinating book.
The Trial of Dr John Bodkin Adams
In his Introduction, the author gives an excellent summary of the case against the doctor. Thus, from the beginning of the book, the reader can ‘attend’ the trial fully briefed. Holding then shows the progression of Dr Adams from a ‘hard working student to a position of some stature in Eastbourne society. Even without the drama of Bodkin Adams’ indictment, Holding’s description of Eastbourne from the 1920s to the 1950s is social history at its best. The reader is introduced to a small town, where in the 1920s doctors had some ‘standing’ in society. This was certainly the position attained by Adams, by the 1930s he was part of the upper set of wealthy and influential men. Holding balances this by showing that Adams did not ignore his panel patients long before the ‘welfare state’ came into being. ( working men paid into a fund created by Lloyd George in 1910, and were ‘panel patients.) Having set the scene, Holding shows that the actions of the ‘kindly’, caring doctor were open to differing interpretations. Was he always acting in the best interests of his wealthier patients, or were there other motives? Was Dr Adams, a pillar of society, an avaricious GP, or a murderer? In posing these questions, David Holding takes the reader on a well-researched journey to a case that made legal history.