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Beverley Allitt, also known as the "Angel of Death," is one of Britain's most notorious female serial killers.
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In 1991, nurse Beverley Allitt claimed her first victim, 7-month-old Liam Taylor. Her next victim was Timothy Hardwick, an 11-year-old with cerebral palsy. No suspicions were aroused at first, and she continued her spree of violence unchecked. In total she claimed four young lives, and attempted the murder of nine other victims. Suspicions were raised when records revealed missing nursing logs.
Beverley Allitt, or the "Angel of Death" as she would later become known, exhibited some worrying tendencies early on while growing up as one of four children, including wearing bandages and casts over wounds that she would use to draw attention to herself, without actually allowing the injuries to be examined. Becoming overweight as an adolescent, she became increasingly attention-seeking, often showing aggression toward others. She spent considerable time in hospitals seeking medical attention for a string of physical ailments, which culminated in the removal of her perfectly healthy appendix, which was slow to heal, as she insisted on interfering with the surgical scar. She was also known to self-harm, and had to resort to "doctor-hopping", as medical practitioners became familiar with her attention-seeking behaviors.
Allitt's behavior in adolescence appeared to be typical of Munchausen's syndrome and, when this behavior failed to elicit the desired reactions in others, she began to harm others in order to satisfy her desire to be noticed.
She went on to train as a nurse, and was suspected of odd behavior, such as smearing feces on walls in a nursing home where she trained. Her absentee level was also exceptionally high, the result of a string of illnesses. Her boyfriend at that time said later that she was aggressive, manipulative and deceptive, claiming false pregnancy, as well as rape, before the end of the relationship.
Despite her history of poor attendance and successive failure of her nursing examinations, she was taken on a temporary six-month contract at the chronically understaffed Grantham and Kesteven Hospital in Lincolnshire in 1991, where she began work in Children's Ward 4. There were only two trained nurses on the day-shift and one for nights when she started, which might explain how her violent, attention-seeking behavior went undetected for as long as it did.
On February 21, 1991, her first victim, 7-month-old Liam Taylor, was admitted to Ward 4 with a chest infection. Allitt went out of her way to reassure his parents that he was in capable hands, and persuaded them to go home to get some rest. When they returned, Allitt told them that Liam had suffered a respiratory emergency, but that he had recovered. She volunteered for extra night duty so she could watch over the boy, and his parents chose to spend the night at the hospital as well.
Liam had another respiratory crisis just before midnight, but it was felt that he'd come through it satisfactorily. Allitt was left alone with the boy, however, and his condition worsened dramatically; becoming deathly pale before red blotches appeared on his face, at which point Allitt summoned an emergency resuscitation team.
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