Killer nurse plans hunger strike over TV interview

BEVERLEY ALLITT, the nurse who killed four children and attacked nine others, has threatened to go on hunger strike if a television interview with her is broadcast, writes Steve Boggan.

Details of her threat were read out at the High Court in London yesterday during an application to ban Central Television from using the interview in a documentary about life inside Rampton mental hospital in Nottinghamshire.

In an affidavit read to Mr Justice Ferris, Dr Ian Keitch, the director of medical services at Rampton, said the broadcast would be 'anti- therapeutic' if allowed to go ahead because of Allitt's fear of jail.

'Anything that she perceives is increasing the pressure to return her to prison could lead to her refusing to accept food,' he said. 'This is something she has done in the past.' Allitt had to be fed through tubes during her trial.

The Special Hospital Service Authority, which runs Rampton, is applying for an injunction preventing Central from broadcasting any part of the interview recorded by the journalist Allan Taylor. Allitt apparently gave the interview freely but later changed her mind.

Both sides are now arguing over the terms on which Mr Taylor was allowed to film. The hospital authorities say he agreed to get the written consent of patients to broadcast after each interview; Mr Taylor and Central say no such condition was agreed to.

Earlier in the hearing Mr Justice Ferris said he found it 'crazy' that the Special Hospital Service Authority was making such an application less than a year after trying to gain a similar injunction against Central over an interview with the mass murderer Dennis Nilsen.

'One must say that it would be better if you made it absolutely clear in writing the terms on which cameramen are admitted before you allow them into your institutions,' he said.

The hearing continues today.