Harold Shipman’s trail of mass murder has been traced back 50 years to his time as junior doctor with a fresh revelation from a former colleague that he may have killed a child.
Britain’s most prolific killer is believed to have murdered around 250 people, with his crimes mainly associated with elderly people in his later career as a family GP.
However, Dr Anthony Baboobal has told how he encountered Shipman, known then by his middle name, Fred, at Pontefract General Infirmary in West Yorkshire.
Dr Baboobal, now retired, took a dislike to Shipman – who he described as a popular character keen to help others – after enrolling in 1970 before becoming a senior house officer on a paediatric ward.
Dr Baboobal said: “At the time, I thought there was absolutely no reason to be going up to people and saying ‘let me do this injection’ or whatever. I never saw any other doctor doing it.
“I always thought there was some ulterior motive, I thought there was something not quite right about this. As time went on he appeared to me to be lacking in the one thing a good doctor should have, which is compassion. He appeared to have a different relationship with patients and their families. The milk of human kindness did not appear to run in his veins.
“I thought he was a very odd and sinister person.”
Shipman, who at the time was a registrar on the ward, treated a child aged four or five for a routine chest infection before the patient became critically ill and died within hours of being admitted.
Shipman had given no indication to colleagues that anything was gravely wrong with the child.
“With hindsight, I had wondered if he had done something to this child,” Dr Baboobal said.
“I think it is likely that this child had some opiate that hastened its death.”
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Shipman is thought to have killed up to 15 patients during his time at the hospital between 1970 and 1974, with at least one child as young as four among his victims.
The majority of his crimes have been associated with elderly victims during his time as a family doctor in the market town of Hyde in Greater Manchester.
He was convicted for 15 murders in January 2000 and did not express any remorse before taking his own life behind bars four years later, aged 57.
On Tuesday (September 29), CoventryLive told how a Warwickshire couple’s own investigation proved crucial in securing the serial killer’s arrest after a new police investigation was launched following an aborted earlier inquiry.
Phil and Angela Woodruff refused to accept the doctor’s lies about the death of her mother, Kathleen Grundy, a former Mayoress of Hyde, and made their own enquiries four months before the GP was arrested in September 1998.
The couple’s suspicions were raised when a new will turned up in Shipman’s name after the healthy and active 81-year-old’s death on June 24, 1998.
But despite the implication that Shipman may have murdered children in his early career, the vast majority of his victims were aged 70 and over.
The new examination of Shipman’s crimes feature in an absorbing three-part BBC documentary series, which concludes tonight (September 30).
Mrs Grundy’s case features in the final episode, which draws some stark conclusions about how he was able to murder in plain sight for almost three decades.
The final part of The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story, a three-part series, airs tonight (Wednesday, September 30) at 9pm on BBC2. All three parts will be available on BBC iPlayer.