Beverley Gail Allitt (born 4 October 1968) is an English serial killer who was convicted of murdering four infants, attempting to murder three others, and causing grievous bodily harm to a further six at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire between February and April 1991.[1] She committed the murders as a State Enrolled Nurse on the hospital's children's ward.[2][3][4]

Beverly Allitt
Beverly Gail Allitt

(1968-10-04) 4 October 1968 (age 55)
Other namesThe Angel of Death
MotiveAttention due to factitious disorder imposed on another
Criminal penalty13 life sentences, 4 counts of murder, 5 counts of attempted murder, 6 counts of GBH
Victims13 (4 deaths)
Span of crimes
February – April 1991
CountryUnited Kingdom
WeaponInsulin, unknown toxic substances
Date apprehended
Imprisoned atRampton Secure Hospital

Allitt administered large doses of insulin to at least two of her victims and a large air bubble was found in the body of another, but police were initially unable to establish how all of the attacks were carried out.[5]

In May 1993, Allitt received thirteen life sentences at Nottingham Crown Court. The sentencing judge, Justice David Latham, told Allitt that she was "a serious danger" to others and was unlikely ever to be considered safe enough to be released.[6][7] Allitt is currently detained at Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire.[8] She became eligible for release on parole after her minimum tariff of thirty years' imprisonment expired in November 2021.[9]

Early life edit

Beverly Gail Allitt was born on 4 October 1968 and grew up in the village of Corby Glen near the town of Grantham. She had two sisters and a brother. Her father, Richard, worked in an off-licence and her mother as a school cleaner. Allitt attended Charles Read Secondary Modern School, having failed the test to enter Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School. She often volunteered for baby-sitting jobs. She left school at the age of 16 and took a course in nursing at Grantham College.[10][11]

Trial and imprisonment edit

Allitt had attacked thirteen children, four fatally, over a 59-day period. It was only following the death of Becky Phillips that medical staff became suspicious of the number of cardiac arrests on the children's ward and police were called in.[12] It was found that Allitt was the only nurse on duty for all the attacks on the children and had access to the drugs used.

Four of Allitt's victims had died. She was charged with four counts of murder, eleven counts of attempted murder, and eleven counts of causing grievous bodily harm. Allitt entered pleas of not guilty to all charges.[13] On 28 May 1993, she was found guilty on each charge and sentenced to thirteen concurrent terms of life imprisonment, which she is serving at Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire.[14][15]

In the 2018 documentary Trevor McDonald and the Killer Nurse, Allitt reportedly told close friends before her trial that she would never go to prison. After one week in prison, she refused to eat or drink and was moved to Rampton Secure Hospital. Two leading experts, forensic psychiatrist Jeremy Coid and criminologist Elizabeth Yardley, examined Allitt's mental state when she was arrested and concluded she was not mentally ill and should be in prison, not a hospital. Allitt reportedly admitted to all 13 of her crimes in a failed application to remain at Rampton Secure Hospital and permanently avoid prison. None of the families of Allitt's victims had been told of her full confession in the failed application.[citation needed]

On 6 December 2007, Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, sitting in the High Court of Justice, London, ordered Allitt to serve the original minimum sentence of thirty years.[16] It was reported that some families of Allitt's victims had previously mistakenly believed that her minimum tariff had been set at forty years.[17] Her minimum tariff expired in November 2021 and she is now eligible for release on parole.[9]

Allitt's motives have never been fully explained. According to one theory, she showed symptoms of a factitious disorder also known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy.[18] This disorder is described as involving a pattern of abuse in which a perpetrator ascribes symptoms to, or physically falsifies illnesses in, someone under their care in order to attract attention to themselves.

On October 3 2023, it was reported that Allitt was appearing before a mental health tribunal to be assessed for a potential transfer to a mainstream prison. If the transfer takes place, Allitt will be eligible for parole after six months.[19]

In popular culture edit

Allitt was the subject of a book called Murder on Ward Four by Nick Davies. A BBC dramatisation of the case, Angel of Death (2005), featured Charlie Brooks as Allitt.[20] Allitt's story was depicted in episodes of the true crime documentaries Crimes That Shook Great Britain, Deadly Women, Born To Kill?, Evil Up Close, Britain's Most Evil Killers, and Nurses Who Kill.[21][22]

Alitt has also been discussed in the “Bad People” Podcast, broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live, in the episode “12. Ward Four: Can you spot Munchausen by Proxy?” in November 2020.

The Black Sabbath song "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle", is based on Allitt, according to vocalist/lyricist Tony Martin.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Katz, Ian (18 May 1993). "The verdicts: Beverley Allitt". The Guardian. London.
  2. ^ "Nurse 'only link to children's deaths'". The Guardian. London. 16 February 1993.
  3. ^ Jenkins, Lin (18 May 1993). "Shadows of death fell across Ward 4". The Times. London.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Lin (18 May 1993). "Killings fed a craving for attention". The Times. London.
  5. ^ Foster, Jonathan (15 October 1993). "Child murderer confesses at last". The Independent. London.
  6. ^ Weale, Sally (29 May 1993). "Allitt jailed 'with no prospect of release'". The Guardian. London.
  7. ^ "Killer nurse gets 13 life sentences in Britain". UPI. 28 May 1993. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  8. ^ Foster, Jonathan (2 February 1994). "Warning signs about Allitt 'overlooked'". The Independent. London.
  9. ^ a b "Grantham family of victim of Beverley Allitt says killer nurse 'must never be set free'". Grantham Journal. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  10. ^ "Drawn curtains in a silent village: The Beverly Allitt case: on Friday". 22 May 1993. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  11. ^ John Askill; Martyn Sharpe (7 January 2014). Angel of Death: Killer Nurse Beverly Allitt. Michael OMara. pp. 84–. ISBN 978-1-78243-245-6.
  12. ^ Appleyard, W. J. (29 January 1994). "Murder in the NHS". BMJ. 308 (6924): 287–288. doi:10.1136/bmj.308.6924.287. PMC 2539291. PMID 8124115.
  13. ^ Murray, Ian (16 February 1993). "Hospital nurse denies killing babies with insulin injections". The Times. London.
  14. ^ Robinson, Oonagh (28 November 2011). "Behind the scenes at Rampton". Nottingham Evening Post. Nottingham. p. 12.
  15. ^ "Beverly Allitt: Suffer the Children". The Crime Library. 10 May 2000. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
  16. ^ Batty, David (6 December 2007). "Serial killer nurse Allitt must serve 30 years". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  17. ^ "Child killer Allitt's tariff set". BBC News. London. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Famous Criminals: Beverley Allitt". Crime & Investigation Network. 10 February 2005. Archived from the original on 21 November 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
  19. ^ Rigley, Stephen (3 October 2023). "'Angel of death' serial killer Beverley Allitt who murdered four children in hospital taking first steps towards release". LBC.
  20. ^ "Angel of Death: The Beverly Allitt Story". Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  21. ^ ""Crime+Investigation" information on Allitt".
  22. ^ ""Crime+Investigation" TV shows on Allitt".