So this has been a bit of a learning experience for me, I had never heard of Beverly Allitt until I started researching into female serial killers generally, in order to expand this section. Allitt was born 4th October 1968 and grew up in the village of Corby Glen near the town of Grantham, Lincolnshire, her home life sounds stable and normal, her father worked in an off-licence, and her mother was school cleaner, and she was one of four with two sisters and a brother. It’s worth noting that she failed an entrance test to Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ school (a grammar school with an academy status), but she attended Charles Read secondary modern school, she left at age 16, she would volunteer and work baby-sitting jobs before taking a nursing course at Grantham College. Other than a small bump of disappointment in her early teens, it sounds to me like Allitt was a hardworking, intelligent girl with a decent and full home life, as far as I can see there have been no reports of childhood abuse. So what did drive Beverly Allitt to murder four children, attempt to murder three children and harm another six?
Beverly Allitt committed her crimes over the short span of 59 days between February and April 1991 at the children’s ward at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire. Allitt was a state enrolled nurse at the hospital. The police were unable to fully establish how all the attacks were carried out, but it is confirmed that Allitt gave at least two victims large and fatal dose of insulin, and a large air bubble was found in the body of another. Alitt would target children, but had a varied age range from 7 weeks old – 11 years old.
The first victim of Allitt was the youngest of her victims, 7 week old Liam Taylor, he was admitted to the ward with Allitt with a chest infection and was murdered on 21st February 1991. Next was Timothy Hardwick and 11 year old boy with cerebral palsy, he was admitted to the ward for epileptic seizures and was murdered 5th March 1991. Just three days after Timothy Hardwick’s murder, Allitt attempted to kill 1 year old Kayley Desmond she was also admitted to the ward for a chest infection and she went into cardiac arrest on 8th March 1991, but she was resuscitated and moved to another hospital, where she made a full recovery.
The next few attempts by Allitt were unsuccessful and all followed the same pattern of being left in Allitt’s care, going into arrest, being resuscitated then moved to another hospital and making a full recovery. Paul Crampton was 5 months old when he was also admitted to the ward for a chest infection on 20th March 1991, Allitt gave Crampton an overdose of insulin on three occasions, luckily Crampton was transferred and recovered. Allitt targeted 5 year old Bradley Gibson and 2 year old Yik Hung Chan (also known as Henry) the next day 21st March 1991, Gibson was given several insulin overdoses, which led to two cardiac arrests, and he was later transferred and recovered. Yik Hung Chan’s attack is unknown, but he suffered an oxygen desaturation attack while in Allitt’s care before his transfer, where he also recovered.
After these unsuccessful attempts, Allitt claimed her next victim on 1st April 1991, two month old Becky Phillips. Phillips was admitted to hospital with gastroenteritis, Allitt administered a fatal insulin overdose and Phillips died at home two days later, her death was officially recorded as cot death. This is the part that becomes the most shocking to me, soon after Becky Phillips’ death, her twin Katie was admitted to the ward as a precaution. Katie started having apnoeic episodes, which were caused by Allitt administering fatal levels of insulin and potassium to the infant. Katie was transferred to another hospital after she stopped breathing for the second time, sadly Katie suffered permanent brain damage, partial paralysis and partial blindness as a result of Allitt’s attack.
Allitt’s last victim was 15 month old Claire Peck, she was admitted to the hospital with an asthma attack, she was put on a ventilator and left alone with Allitt, during this time she went into cardiac arrest, she was resuscitated and left with Allitt again, Allitt launched another attack and Peck suffered another cardiac arrest.
Despite attacking thirteen children, and successfully murdering four, it wasn’t until the death of Claire Peck that suspicions fell on Allitt, the other staff were concerned about the number of cardiac arrests happening on the ward and the police were called in. When the police checked records it was found that Allitt was the only nurse on duty that had access to the drugs found in the victim’s and she was the only nurse on duty for every cardiac arrest. There was no question of Allitt’s guilt and she was quickly arrested.
Beverly Allitt was charged with four counts of murder, 11 counts of attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm, but pleaded not guilty. Allitt was however found guilty on each charge on 28th March 1993 and she was given 13 concurrent term of life imprisonment, she is serving this sentence at Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire. On 6th December 2007 it was confirmed by Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, that Allitt will serve her original minimum sentence of 30 years at the High Court of Justice, London.
It’s still unclear exactly why Beverly Allitt committed these horrific crimes, there’s one theory that she showed symptoms of Munchausen syndrome or Munchausen syndrome by proxy, this disorder causes the sufferer to falsify illnesses or injury to someone in their care to attract attention to themselves, you may have heard this mentioned on TV shows like House MD, and in these storylines it’s traditionally a parent/child situation, but it can be in any care scenario for example someone looking after an elderly relative or in Allitt’s case a nurse and her patients.
I’ve read some articles and literature about Allitt and she can be described in these articles as an “angel of death killer”, I don’t agree, an “angel of death killer” is someone who kills to “put someone out of their misery” it’s often nurses or doctors that will target patients that are really ill or often terminal patients and they believe that they are doing good and ending the victim’s pain, they kill out of kindness in their minds. Beverly Allitt killed because she wanted to, I believe the Munchausen syndrome theory, she wanted the attention in the same way, being the “nurse that saves the day” being the hero to these desperate parents that are watching their child be resuscitated. I think there was also an element of enjoyment for Allitt in the power she had over life and death, she seemed to purposely pick weaker victims like young babies and disabled children, because they are the types of people that are immediately vulnerable, it’s the same as the classic “they started out killing animals” picking weaker victims that can’t fight back showing strength and dominance that she may not have been able to show in other aspects of her life, while I mention the power side of things I think the frequent resuscitations were another way for her to feel power over her victims, because in the moments of a resuscitation situation, all the power of life is trusted to team working on the patient, this would have given someone like Allitt the high that made her keep going on her killing spree.
Okay, I’m finishing up this piece going over some final research and while I’m browsing the internet an article pops up with the daily mirror “angel of death killer fighting for her life in hospital” so I click it and it’s an article on Beverly Allitt that was released 20th July 2018, I started researching the day before, honestly that is such a weird coincidence. Anyway, the article says that she fell ill on 15th July 2018 with sepsis an currently needs round the clock care for her condition, I know that sepsis is a very serious illness and she is more or less fighting for her life