Child murderer confesses at last

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The Independent Online
BEVERLY ALLITT has confessed to three murders and six other attacks on patients she nursed in a hospital children's ward, Lincolnshire police said yesterday.

Allitt, 24, was given 13 sentences of life imprisonment in May after conviction for four murders and nine other attacks on children in Ward Four at Grantham and Kesteven district general hospital. She had denied all charges against her, including two attempted murders of which she was cleared.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Clifton said Allitt, now a patient at Rampton special hospital, Nottinghamshire, was continuing to co-operate with the police. She has been questioned only about the 13 victims she was found by the jury to have attacked. Sources say Allitt may be interviewed regularly during the next 12 months; the original police investigation was narrowed down to 15 alleged victims from a greater number of cases that had aroused suspicions.

Details of interviews with her at Rampton have been passed to the official inquiry into the calamitous events on Ward Four when, during 58 days in 1991, at least 26 alleged attacks were made on patients, many of them infants.

Parents of Allitt's victims were told by Supt Clifton on Wednesday of her confessions, although 'it would not be fair' to tell them which children she had admitted attacking.

Allitt volunteered to co-operate, Mr Clifton said. Her solicitor, John Kendall, said she would not be appealing; he refused to give details of her present medical condition.

At her trial, she was suffering from anorexia nervosa. A Home Office forensic psychiatrist described her as 'this very damaged lady', and it emerged later that Allitt had been inflicting serious injury on her own body while a student nurse. Preliminary diagnosis suggested treatment of Allitt could not begin until she admitted her attacks.

She administered large doses of insulin to at least two victims and a large air bubble was found in the body of another. But police were unable to establish how all the attacks were carried out.

Ann Alexander, a solicitor representing victims' parents, said last night: 'We don't know whether health problems may appear over the long term in children who seem at present to have survived Allitt's attacks unharmed. If she reveals what she did to them, we can seek provisional damages to cover the victims for any unforeseen consequences of being attacked.'

One of the parents, David Crampton, said his son Paul seemed to have recovered fully. He added: 'I think it is good news that she has begun to admit the attacks. It may help future medical treatment and provide information for the inquiry. But it also means a three-month trial put us through such unnecessary trauma, to say nothing of the expense of a long trial.'