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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 23:28 GMT 00:28 UK
Harold Shipman: Timeline
Harold Shipman
Shipman was convicted of 15 murders in January 2000
Harold Shipman, Britain's most prolific serial killer, has died after being found hanging in his prison cell.

BBC News Online details the major points in Shipman's career and downfall.

1946: Harold Shipman born in Nottingham.

1970: Graduates from Leeds University and begins working at Pontefract General Infirmary.

1974: Starts working as a GP in Todmorden, Lancashire, but suffers blackouts and colleagues discover his addiction to the painkiller pethidine.

He had been using patient prescriptions to feed his habit, and was fined but not struck off by the GMC, and fired by the practice.

1977: Shipman gets another job working as a GP in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

1993: He sets up his own single-handed practice in the town, gathering approximately 3,000 patients.

7 September 1998: Shipman is arrested for the murder of Kathleen Grundy.

5 October 1999: Trial starts at Preston Crown Court. Shipman is accused of killing 15 elderly patients.

31 January 2000: Jury convicts Shipman on all 15 counts of murder. He is sentenced to life in prison.

1 February 2000: Health Secretary Alan Milburn announces an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the murders and the investigation.

However, the news that the inquiry will be private shocks relatives, who campaign for it to be held in public.

February 2000: Police reveal that they are investigating Dr Shipman's role in 175 deaths. However, they say that there will be no further murder charges.

Shipman is moved from prison in Manchester to HMP Frankland in Durham.

April 2000: South Manchester coroner John Pollard says he will hold inquests into 23 deaths not originally covered by the police investigation.

July 2000: Relatives of the suspected victims of Shipman win a court battle to force the government to hold the inquiry in public.

January 2001: A government report suggests that as many as 236 of Shipman's former patients may have been murdered.

June 2001: Shipman inquiry opens in Manchester, chaired by High Court judge Dame Janet Smith.

It's first phase is devoted in part to an examination of more than 466 cases in which foul play is suspected.

July 2002: Report of first phase of inquiry is published. It concludes that the Hyde GP killed at least 215 of his patients - and possibly many more.

Of Shipman's 215 victims, 171 were women and 44 were men, with the oldest being a 93-year-old woman and the youngest a 47-year-old man.

June 2003: Shipman is moved from Frankland prison in Durham to Wakefield prison.

July 2003: The second and third reports of the Shipman inquiry are published.

In the reports Dame Janet Smith criticises the police investigation into the murders.

She also calls for "radical reform" of the way coroners work in England and Wales, after Shipman managed to evade their scrutiny by saying his victims had died of natural causes.

13 January 2004: Shipman is found hanging in his cell in Wakefield prison. Staff try to revive him but he is pronounced dead at 0810 GMT.

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