Murder Most Rare: The Female Serial Killer

By Michael D. Kelleher; C. L. Kelleher | Go to book overview

healthy infant. However, before the baby could be released to her parents, she suffered three serious attacks of arrested breathing. The last of these unexplained episodes stopped her heart, causing hospital staff to struggle for an extended period of time to save the child. Even though they were eventually successful, Kate suffered permanent brain damage long before her breathing was restored.

Allitt's last fatality was Clare Peck, a fifteen-month-old asthmatic child who was admitted to Ward 4 on April 22, 1991. Two hours after being placed in Allitt's charge, Peck was dead. Despite the fact that the child's blood indicated an unusually high level of potassium, hospital physicians attributed her death to asthma. It would be another eight days after the child's death before the police would begin their investigation into the series of bizarre events that had descended on quiet Grantham hospital.

Once the investigation had begun, law enforcement officials soon discovered that the common denominator in all twenty-six attacks on Grantham's children was their attending nurse, Beverley Allitt. Moreover, officials were able to determine that all the victims had been injected with dangerously high levels of insulin or potassium. In one instance, Allitt later admitted to suffocating an infant when her lethal injection failed to produce the expected results.

Much too late to help any of her hapless victims, Allitt's personal medical history was closely examined by law enforcement personnel. It was learned that the nurse had long suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy.I. This crippling psychological disorder had impelled Allitt to relentlessly attack the defenseless Grantham patients in an effort to gain the attention and appreciation of the hospital staff and physicians that she so desperately craved. The investigation into Allitt's background also disclosed that she had harbored persistent destructive tendencies toward others since the age of thirteen. Had her medical history been more carefully examined before she was employed, it might have become clear to hospital administrators that Allitt should never have been allowed near the patients at Grantham. Sadly, that failed to happen.

Allitt was eventually charged with four counts of murder, eight counts of assault, and ten counts of grievous bodily harm with intent to kill. In an ironic postscript to her arrest, which underscored Allitt's significant psychological impairment, her legal proceedings were delayed for an unusually long time because of a series of inexplicable illnesses that kept her from attending the scheduled hearings. Nonetheless, on May 28, 1993, Beverley Allitt was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to thirteen terms of life imprisonment.


NOTES
1.
"Doctor Refused to Testify on 42 Child Deaths," Philadelphia Inquirer (Internet edition), 25 February 1983.
____________________
I.
See Appendix III for an explanation of this psychological disorder.

-70-

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Murder Most Rare: The Female Serial Killer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - The Quiet Killers 1
  • Notes 17
  • 2 - Black Windows 19
  • Notes 57
  • 3 - Angles of Death 59
  • Notes 70
  • 4 - Sexual Predators 73
  • Notes 83
  • 5 - Revenge 85
  • Notes 91
  • 6 - For Profit or Crime 93
  • Notes 106
  • 7 - Team Killers 107
  • 8 - The Question of Sanity 161
  • Notes 172
  • 9 - The Unexplained 173
  • Notes 187
  • 10 - The Unsolved 189
  • Notes 196
  • Appendix 1 - Statistical Information 197
  • Appendix 2 - Alphabetical Listing of Female Serial Killers 199
  • Appendix 3 - Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy 201
  • Selected Bibliography 205
  • Index 209
  • About the Authors 214
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