Back

Hospital Serial Killer: A Jury in the Dark

By Mark Daly, from insidetime issue October 2011

BBC Scotland Investigations Correspondent Mark Daly was reunited with former Rough Justice producer Louise Shorter to make Hospital Serial Killer A Jury in the Dark about prisoner Colin Norris. Here, he talks about the making of the film.


Hospital Serial Killer: A Jury in the Dark

I’ve investigated miscarriage of justice cases before, but never when the prisoner claiming innocence is a convicted serial killer. For that and many other reasons, the case of Colin Norris is at once fascinating and deeply troubling.

Here is a male nurse, bright and with no history of violence, accused of a six-month murdering rampage. He was convicted of poisoning with insulin five frail, elderly patients in his care in hospital.

He was predictably dubbed the “Angel of Death” and got 30 years in 2008. Few would shed any tears for such a monster.

However, if one of the central scientific assumptions which underpin the whole case is flawed which is what my BBC investigation
alleges then we are potentially looking at one of the worst miscarriage cases in recent history.

Our programme team listened to more than a dozen hours of police interviews and read through 35 boxes of evidence. We spoke to witnesses, and to former colleagues of Colin’s.
Few believed him capable of these crimes.

On November 20th 2001 Colin had told colleagues he thought one of his patients, Ethel Hall, would not last the night. Common staff parlance, according to nurses we spoke to.

But that night she suffered an unexplained hypoglycemic episode (extreme low blood sugar) which led to her death three weeks later. A blood test appeared to show high levels of insulin. Colin was immediately in the frame.

West Yorkshire Police started working backwards, and produced another four cases where the women involved suffered unexplained
hypoglycemic episodes. They had all been hitherto certified as having natural deaths but now police had learned Colin Norris had been on shift for each incident, they were being treated as murders.

This was on the basis that unexplained hypoglycemias were believed to be so rare, that a cluster of five within six months was so
suspicious, it must mean foul play.

The new scientific evidence revealed in our programme seriously undermines that case.

Professor Vincent Marks, the world’s most experienced insulin expert, found that up to 10% of elderly sick in hospital suffer this
condition – meaning it is not that rare at all. He believes Colin’s convictions are unsafe.

Additionally, the film features concerns over the insulin test on Ethel Hall. Despite Colin’s five convictions, it could be that none of the
women involved in this case were murdered.

Digging through the boxes of files, we also found evidence over the way Colin’s alleged victims had been selected. We learned claims that police had told one family their relative’s death was suspicious and Colin was in the frame. The family were later told the death was no longer suspicious, after police discovered Colin was not working that night.

Lawyers accuse the police of focusing their investigation too narrowly on Colin and cherry picking evidence. The police, for their
part, are sure the right man is in prison.

An application for a fresh appeal, based on the new evidence revealed in our film will be submitted to the Criminal Cases Review
Commission.

I began investigating this case five months ago with an open mind, and would have dropped it if the evidence didn’t stack up.
And I believe Colin Norris is not guilty.



Back to top

Comments about this article

5/10/2011 Sarah

I have always believed Colin is not guilty. Now to get him out of that place where he should be. Back with his family and friends who love him.

7/10/2011 Steven Battram -

The justice system does not like to admit it has made a mistake and will, as always, drag out appeals until every avenue has been exhausted. Now Colin has been convicted, even if there is good evidence the police got it wrong not a single judge or police officer will admit it, until they are dragged kicking and screaming to justice. The police and judges love to dish out justice, but can't take their own medicine. It reminds me of a criminal denying guilt and fighting the case every step of the way. Surely judges and the police should be held accountable for hindering justice, dragging appeals on keeping an innocent man in prison for as long as possible.

On reading about this case I felt uneasy about the police investigation. I don't accept Colin is a serial killer. Unlike the Shipman case, where Shipman had complete control and could manipulate the decision processes, Colin could have been found out at stage. What the police allege he was doing was reckless, and does not fit the serial killer profile of cunning and manipulation.

8/10/2011 catherine summers

SINCE I WATCH THE PROGRAMME LAST WEEK ,THIS BOY HAS BEEN IN MY PRAYERS EVERY NIGHT AND WILL BE TILL HIS ,RELEASE PROSECUTIONS WANT TO PROSECUTE ,DOES NOT MATTER INNOCENT OR NOT ,SHAME ON THIS JUSTICE SYSTEM, POLICE ,JUST LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO BLAME AND PROSICUTIONS JUST WANT A BODY ,AND LOOKS LIKE ANY BODY WILL DO ,,DONT KNOW HOW SOME OF THESE PEOLE CAN SLEEP .PEACEFULLY ,,BUT THEY JUST DONT CARE ,,,THEY RUIN PEOPLES LIFES , SHAME ON THEM LET THIS BOY GO HOME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE ,,,FREE COLIN NORRIS X

10/10/2011 rod -

mark you and louise are doing a fine job exposeing this rotten system,do not stop getting to the bottom of this corrupt system coursing so many miscarriages of just, would like to know why the c.c.r.c moved in to the offices of the C.P.S. building in birmingham with Foster in charge former area head of the C.P.S. it does make many wonder what is going on there, run by the goverment,bill paid by the goverment (reduced), with it's own employere's who coursed these problems in the first place. Talk about barriers in the way, maybe some one could answer these points i raise.I caught them out.

13/10/2011 rod

mark and louise, well today had an internal investigating police officer round for a few hours,the verdict on my case was (A) can not wait for the book to be written,(B)it will take a task force to round up corrupt individuals in our legal professions including our courts, he saw fact not fiction and to all who are fighting do not give up the fight, keep going the pair of you and all those following my comments on articles seems i have uncovered a bag of worms in our system.

21/10/2011 rod -

louise look into operation vista by the commissioner of police pauline claire set up in 1997 as for years prior certain individuals framed up people for many various crimes as it was running out of control and still is in our legal professions and police etc. tell you more if you want to call me send email

29/10/2011 Zack

I gave a very comprehensive statement to the police in relation to a murder case. That 'very comprehensive statement' disapeared and having
asked a judge why no one had contacted me after the court case, his replied to my letter and stated-he knew nothing of me!

Over a year later whilst investigating why the justice system had failed me, I discovered that I inadvertently became a witness for the convicted murderer (though I am adamant - a person with diminished mind) however, I received an explanation from the DI who headed the case, and he stated in his letter "only evidence supporting the prosecution will get as far as the courts"! Which to me I conclude, means: If a person who tells the truth and who's statement is based on facts, will have their testimony discarded if it so much as casts doubt on the charges served, or supports the defense?

That statement led me on a one man campaign! Whereby I have one goal! And quite simply I am almost there- Which is to have the case reviewed and the sentence reduced to reflect manslaughter not murder.

I was brought up with integrity, and will not change my ways for anybody, including the police.

30/10/2011 Phillip Shaw

Lets not forget the Police motivation. For every team that convicts an alledged killer of this ilk there are promotions and pay increases, tea and medals if you will. As long as the promotion and pay increases are attached to such investigations then the goals will be blurred!

Post a comment

This article appears under the following categories...
Appeals
Evidence
Law
Miscarriages Of Justice
Unsafe Prosecutions

Summary of headlines for October 2011
Current page: Hospital Serial Killer: A Jury in the Dark
Do Offending Behaviour Programmes really work?
This is a man’s world
Will working prisons work out?
The myth of rehabilitation
Accessing Offending Behaviour Programmes
Murder by More Than One
Bob Woffinden writes…
Month by Month October 2011
The media and the court of public opinion
Justice isn’t blind; it has tunnel vision
Restorative justice after the riots?
Views on criminal justice.
Probation staff act more link "charlatans"
From over the wall
The ‘Forgotten Victims of Crime’
Prison Widow
Criminal Justice in crisis
Creating Freedom in Russia

Back to top

insidetime

Inside Time Latest Issue

Issue : August 2014

Headlines | Mailbag | Poems
Book List | PSI Updates

Advert

Back Issues

 
Back Issues

View backissues and extras

Browse and Search Tools

View headlines by category
Search headlines | All headlines
Search mailbag | All mailbag
Search poems | All poems

August 2014 Headlines
> Prisons Beyond Crisis
> Money: prisoners do actually need it
> Rehabilitation Revolution for sale
> Understanding the balance between reality and drama
> Out of their depth
> Are they reall serious about stopping offending
> To what extent does the life sentence meet its purpose
> Month by Month August 2014
> Inside Faith
> Labels
> Work
> Human trafficking
> Cyberline over the wall
> The shift from being inside to life on the outside
> How can the ‘filtering’ of cautions and convictions for employment go further
> Rethink Mental Illness
> the PAROLE BOARD
> My innocent brother
> How safe a safety net
> From over the wall
> Technology in prisons: helping to keep families in touch
> Sexual Offences Prevention Orders
> Prison Law is Dead
> Drugs testing in Jurby prison
> So you think it is all over...
> Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Challenging surveillance evidence

About Us

About insidetime
Directors
Editorial Team

InsidePoetry Book

insidepoetry book New! Volume 5 of
insidepoetry book
is now available!

A collection of poems by prisoners of all backgrounds.

Availabe to buy from this site! Volume 1,2,3 and 4 are also still available and you can SAVE by purchasing bundles!

USP Service

USP from Inside Time

The Useful Services for Prisoners scheme from insidetime provides discounts, vouchers and other benefits from USP Group Members for Prisoners, their families and legal advisors. Click the image above to read more about it.

Subscribe

You can subscribe to insidetime Newspaper and get the paper each month delivered to your door!

Advertise

Advertise your business or solicitors office to a highly defined target audience.

Other Publications

Inside Time has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.

Advert

Contact Us

All contact info for the Operations office and the Editorial Team.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insidetime site.

External Links

We have a number of external websites which you may be interested on our Links Page.

Social Networking


insideinformation

Inside Information

Prisons

Everything you need to know about visiting people in prison; procedures, opening times, directions etc.

Comprehensive information about each prison regime; lock down times, facilities, healthcare etc.

*NEW* Detailed information about IRC - Immigration Removal Centres.

insideinformation Book

insideinformation book
The insideinformation book

A comprehensive guide to prisons and prison related services, designed and compiled by former prisoners.

Advert

Help and Support

Various pages of information for help and support organisations and networks for those in custody as well as recently released. Also information for friends and family.

Grants and Funding

This grants and funding pdf document aims to meet the need of prisoners and ex-offenders for accurate, up to date information on the supplementary funding available to prisoners.

Rules and Regulations

Information on rules & regulations used throughout the prison service.

Glossary of Terms

The Glossary of Prison Related Terms explains what all the acronyms and terms stand for with prison related matters. Includes links to external sites to further explain things.

Fact Sheets

We have produced many Prison Related Fact Sheets inc. Legal Fact Sheets, Parole Fact Sheets and Other related information.

Advert

Find a Solicitor

You can search our solicitor database for listings of solicitors in your area that provide the services you require.

Find a Barrister

You can search our barrister database for listings of barristers in your area that provide the services you require.

Address Finder

You can search our address database in many ways to retrieve contact information for all those elusive addresses you need in a hurry.

Prison Law pdf

This document provides details of leading training providers who offer sound professional training.

Other Publications

Inside Information has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insideinformation site.

Contact Us

Use the Contact Us Feedback form to send us suggestions, plus our address and phone numbers.

Advert




insidejustice

Inside Justice

insidejustice was launched in July 2010 to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

Full introduction is on the insidejustice homepage

insidejustice Cases

insidejustice Articles & Reviews

insidejustice Advisory Panel Members

insidejustice Sponsors page

insidejusticecontact details