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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 09:23 GMT
Shipman added to biography list
Harold Shipman
Shipman is thought to have killed at least 215 patients over 24 years
Britain's most deadly mass murderer has been added to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB).

Former doctor Harold Shipman, who is thought to have committed at least 215 murders, hanged himself in West Yorkshire's Wakefield prison in 2004.

Published since 1885, the dictionary lists those who have "for good or ill" left their mark on British society.

Shipman's entry says he saw ultimate power as "deciding life and death" and so he became a "killer out of vanity".

He will be listed alongside the "great and good" such as broadcasters John Peel and Alistair Cooke, raconteur Sir Peter Ustinov, and Fred Dibnah, Britain's most famous steeplejack.

Not only was Shipman a heinous mass murderer but the nature of his crimes led to a public inquiry and to intense discussion on the relationship between doctor and patient
Dr Lawrence Goldman, DNB editor

One of the scientists listed is physician Katharina Dalton, who is noted for coining the term pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) in 1953.

Other infamous murderers immortalised in the online version of the dictionary include Jack the Ripper and Myra Hindley.

In total the new edition will describe 211 men and women who died in 2004.

Dictionary editor Dr Lawrence Goldman said of the decision to include Shipman: "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is not a roll-call of the 'great and good' but a record of those who left a mark on any aspect of British history, for good or ill.

"The DNB has always included criminals, particularly those whose crimes led to sustained public interest and debate about legal or medical issues, as in the case of Harold Shipman.

"Not only was Shipman a heinous mass murderer but the nature of his crimes led to a public inquiry and to intense discussion on the relationship between doctor and patient."



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