Best Known For
John Bodkin Adams is best known for standing trial in the suspicious deaths of 163 former patients in England.
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Also in Adams' favor was the fact that only one of the prosecution's two expert medical witnesses was prepared to say that murder had been committed. The defense was also able to demonstrate that he was not a reliable witness.
Dr. Adams defense had managed to prevent him being forced to appear in the witness stand and as a result no evidence from Gertrude Hullett's case, including the testimony of a nurse, was allowed to be produced in court. This particular nurse,
who had worked with Adams while attending Hullett in July 1956, had allegedly remarked to him, You do realize, doctor, that you have killed her?
On April 15, 1957, it took the jury only 45 minutes to find Adams not guilty.
Despite the not guilty verdict, the police still thought Adams was guilty, not just of two murders, but the deaths of many patients. The press appeared to share this opinion. A Fleet Street journalist at the time is known to have said that word on the street was that Adams had killed so many, and seemed so likely to kill so many more, that the police had been obliged to prosecute even though their case was 'not quite ready'.
After the trial Adams resigned from the National Health Service. He was later convicted that same year for forging prescriptions, and ordered to pay a fine of 2,200 pounds. As a result he was struck off the Medical Register.
Adams spent his remaining days in Eastbourne, in spite of his tarnished reputation with some still believing that he had murdered at least eight people. Others, notably patients and friends, remained convinced of his innocence.
In 1961, Adams was reinstated as a general practitioner. On July 4, 1983, Adams died age 84. At the time of his death, his fortune was 402,970 pounds. He had been receiving legacies until his death.
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