NOSTALGIA: Insight into the minds of two sinister doctors

Dr John Bodkin Adams pictured after his acquittal in 1957
Dr John Bodkin Adams pictured after his acquittal in 1957

The lives of two of the most notorious medics in history will come under the spotlight at a unique medical consultation and dinner at Eastbourne’s Grand Hotel later this month.

Dial Medicine for Murder is the critically acclaimed piece which was a smash hit at last year’s Edinburgh Festival focusing on Dr John Bodkin Adams and Dr Harold Shipman.

It is at the Grand Hotel on Friday April 29 at 7pm.

The event is presented as a consultation between Dr Harry Brunjes and Dr Andrew Johns who first met as medical students at Guys Hospital in London followed by careers in general medicine and forensic psychiatry respectively.

It is a story and juxtaposition of the two most notorious physicians of the 20th century, Dr Shipman and Eastbourne’s Dr Bodkin Adams.

The production compares and contrasts the background, arrest, trial, legacy and psychopathology of both individuals interspersed with film footage and contemporaneous news items.

Dr Brunjes is the current owner of Folkington Manor, where Dr Bodkin Adams was a frequent visitor back in the day when it was owned by his close friend Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Roland Vaughan Gwynne, a former Eastbourne mayor.

Bodkins Adams was an Irish general practitioner, convicted fraudster and suspected serial killer after – between 1946 and 1956 – more than 160 of his patients died in suspicious circumstances, and of those 132 left him money or items in their wills.

He was tried and acquitted for the murder of one patient in 1957. Another count of murder was withdrawn by the Attorney General.

Adams was found guilty in a subsequent trial of 13 offences of prescription fraud, lying on cremation forms, obstructing a police search and failing to keep a dangerous drugs register.

He was removed from the Medical Register in 1957 and reinstated in 1961 after two failed applications.

Adams stayed in the home he had brought in Eastbourne, Kent Lodge in Trinity Trees, and died in 1983.

Harold Shipman was a British GP and the most prolific serial killer in recorded history.

In January 2000, a jury found Shipman guilty of 15 murders, but an inquiry after his conviction confirmed he was responsible for at least 218.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment and the judge recommended he never be released.

About 80 per cent of his victims were women. His youngest victim was a 41-year-old man.

He is the only British doctor to have been found guilty of murdering his patients.

Shipman died on 13 January 2004, the day before his 58th birthday, after hanging himself in his cell at Wakefield Prison.

Dial Medicine for Murder has been highly acclaimed with reviewers describing it as fascinating and unmissable.

Tickets for event which includes a three course dinner can be booked on Eastbourne 412345, online at www.grandeastbourne.com or by emailing reservations@grandeastbourne.com

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