[QODLink]
Archive
Police blamed over serial killer murders
Three victims of Britain’s worst serial killer could have been saved if detectives had investigated his case properly, the inquiry into his crimes ruled today.
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2003 16:30 GMT
Police could have prevented Shipman from murdering
Three victims of Britain’s worst serial killer could have been saved if detectives had investigated his case properly, the inquiry into his crimes ruled today.

Two Greater Manchester Police detectives who investigated Dr Harold Shipman were unfit to handle the case, the inquiry found.

"If the police and the coroner had moved with reasonable expedition, the lives of Shipman's last three victims would probably have been saved," said Dame Janet Smith, the judge heading the inquiry.

The initial police inquiry was triggered when another doctor raised concerns Shipman might have been killing his patients. 

 
Two officers were appointed to investigate, but "found no cause for concern" after a short enquiry.

Shipman killed at least 215 of his patients. 

Police made mistakes

Lied about mistakes

According to Dame Janet, the senior officer, Chief Superintendent David Sykes did not give effective leadership, and the junior officer, Detective Inspector David Smith, was "out of his depth" and lied to cover up his mistakes.

Her findings were welcomed by victims' relatives who praised the inquiry and said it might prevent such murders happening again.

"The police made terrible misjudgments and today it's been brought into the public arena," Barry Swann, whose mother Bessie was killed by Shipman in 1997, told the BBC.

"It could happen again, but as long as these recommendations are taken on board it will go a long way to stop it."

Mr Swann added that he would await Dame Janet's final report before deciding whether to take any action against police.
 
Police apology

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police unreservedly apologised to the families of the victims and said it had taken on board Dame Janet's recommendations.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Whatton said: "The basic problem was that the wrong people were in charge... this sort of thing will not happen again."  .

Shipman, 57, was jailed for life in January 2000 for murdering 15 of his patients.

The deaths of hundreds more were investigated at the public inquiry last year which found he had killed at least 215 people and probably as many as 260.

Source:
Unspecified
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.