Angel of Death serial killer Beverley Allitt has put on FOUR STONE since 1993 while serving 13 life sentences.

December 2007

Serial killer nurse Allitt must serve 30 years

Beverly Allitt, pictured in 1991

The serial killer nurse Beverly Allitt must serve a minimum of 30 years in jail for the murder and abuse of children in her care, the high court ruled today.

A high court judge ruled that Allitt, dubbed the “Angel of Death”, should serve a minimum sentence of 28 years and 175 days, taking into account the one year and 190 days she spent in custody before being sentenced.

Allitt was given 13 life sentences in 1993 for murdering four children, attempting to murder another three, and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to a further six at Grantham and Kesteven hospital in Lincolnshire.

Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, sitting in London, confirmed the minimum sentence of 30 years, which is the same term previously recommended by the trial judge and the then Lord Chief Justice. Allitt will be 54 before she will be considered for parole.

The former nurse was diagnosed as suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP) when she carried out the attacks between 1991 and 1993.

The 39-year-old is now being held at the Rampton high-security hospital in Nottingham.

Allitt murdered the four children by injecting them with high doses of insulin.

MSbP is a condition identified by the paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow in 1977, and described as a form of child abuse in which carers deliberately induce or falsely report illnesses in children to focus attention on themselves.

The judge said: “I have to say that I regard the determination of the minimum period in a case such as the present – and fortunately cases as extreme as this are rare – as a very difficult task.

“Once it is accepted that the offender was suffering from mental disorder, difficult ethical and indeed philosophical questions arise as to the degree to which responsibility for the offences in question should be regarded as diminished.

“I have found that there is an element of sadism in Ms Allitt’s conduct and her offending. But that sadism is itself, if not the result, certainly a manifestation of her mental disorder, and it would be unduly simplistic to treat it in the same way as one would if the offender were mentally well.

“By her actions, what should have been a place of safety for its patients became not just a place of danger, but if not a killing field somethingclose to it.”

The four children murdered by Allitt were seven-week-old Liam Taylor, 11-year-old Timothy Hardwick, two-month-old Becky Phillips and 15-month-old Claire Peck.

They all died between February and April 1991 while Allitt was a nurse at the Lincolnshire hospital.

Nine other children survived her murder attempts.

Allitt was subsequently found to have been the only nurse on duty at the time of all the poisonings.

The judge said: “These were multiple murders and attempted murders of young children whose lives were snuffed out almost before they had begun.”

Having considered all the medical evidence, he was satisfied that she was suffering from “an abnormality of mind” when she committed the offences.

Joanne Taylor, the mother of Allitt’s first victim, Liam Taylor, said she was pleased with the judge’s verdict and his reference to Allitt’s sadism.

Taylor, who was in court with her husband, said: “That’s what we all felt at the time. There’s a fine line between evil and illness, and I’ll never forget him saying that word today.”

David Peck, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, the father of 15-month-old Claire who died in March 1991, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome – and pleased for the other families as well.

“We can now put this behind us after 15 years. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Claire, who suffered from asthma, was admitted to hospital and collapsed when Allitt was alone with her.

Allitt was convicted of her murder after the jury heard evidence that the toddler had been injected with potassium and lignocaine.