The True Story Of Harold Shipman

Album: Earth To King (2007)
  • Although it contains no expletives, this has to be one of the sickest songs recorded within living memory. In June 1998, Mrs. Kathleen Grundy, a sprightly 81-year-old and former Mayoress of Hyde, Manchester, was found dead at her home. There would have been nothing suspicious about this if shortly before her death she hadn't left her entire estate to her beloved family doctor.

    Mrs. Grundy's daughter was a solicitor, and naturally suspicious she soon discovered that the two witnesses to the will - who are required by English law - had been duped into signing it. A police investigation was launched into the clumsy forgery, and Mrs. Grundy's body was exhumed. Her GP, Harold Shipman, was subsequently charged with her murder and with forging the will. This would have been shocking enough, but further exhumations led to Shipman facing a total of 15 murder charges. After a trial that lasted nearly four months he was convicted on all counts and sentenced to life imprisonment, but even that wasn't the end of the affair. An extensive public investigation was ordered; headed by the High Court Judge Dame Janet Smith, the Shipman Inquiry was convened in February 2001; its final report, published in January 2005, concluded that the serial poisoner had probably murdered two hundred and fifty people throughout his career.

    Just as it is possible that Dame Janet Smith and her team missed a victim or two, so it is possible that the Inquiry or even the jury misattributed one or two deaths by natural causes as murders, but there can be no doubt whatsoever that Shipman is by far the most prolific serial killer in English criminal history. Any claim or inference that he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice or simply a "mercy killer" is too ludicrous for words; the forensic evidence against him is simply overwhelming. Shipman hanged himself in his cell at Wakefield Prison in January 2004, an act which prompted Home Secretary David Blunkett to suggest cracking open a bottle of champagne.
  • This song, which is ostensibly an appeal not to turn Shipman into a "media demon" is deliberately provocative, but anyone who is au fait with its composer's case will realize that King is really writing about himself, whom he feels has been wrongly victimized by the media. Jonathan King wielded a great deal of influence on the British commercial music scene from the 1960s as a songwriter, performer, producer and pundit. He also worked in radio in the United States. Though his smarmy manner tended to alienate many people, it was his sexual proclivities that were his undoing and which turned him into a minor "media demon." For years he used his fame and wealth to prey on star struck youths. He was finally brought to book in November 2001 when he was jailed for seven years after being convicted of six sexual assaults on underage boys in the 1980s. Since being paroled he has continued to protest his innocence and has boasted on his website that industry executives are seeking his advice more and more. The truth though is that King is persona non grata throughout the music industry, and this badly crafted, unpleasant composition is a rather pathetic attempt to gain further "acceptable notoriety" in lieu of the fame he once deservedly enjoyed. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
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