Category Archives: serial killers

Dalrymple’s nurse-poisoner book plan spurned

Victorino Chua: jailed for a minimum of 35 years for murdering and poisoning patients at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport. Two victims suffered agonising deaths and a third was left brain-damaged

Victorino Chua: jailed for a minimum of 35 years for poisoning patients at Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital. Two patients suffered agonising deaths while a third was left brain-damaged

Dalrymple, author of So Little Done: The Testament of a Serial Killer (1995), suggests to a number of publishers that he write a book about the trial of Victorino Chua, the poisoner, but

no publisher accepted my kind offer, despite the fact that I had experience of murder trials and understood the complex pharmacological matters at issue.

The main reason given for refusal

was that the accused was a Filipino rather than a son of the soil and therefore there would be no market for such a book.

Does it mean

that the British public is interested only in native and not imported wickedness? That we expect Filipinos to behave in this fashion and therefore there is nothing surprising or interesting about Chua’s behaviour? Or is it that murder trials are interesting only if there is the prospect of the rope at the end of them?

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Why do healthcare killers do it?

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 23.10.17Dalrymple leafs through Katherine Ramsland’s Inside the Minds of Healthcare Serial Killers (2007). The book turned out to be

mainly a descriptive compendium of cases, but as for explanation, I found it not.

Dalrymple asks:

Is serial killing by healthcare staff a single phenomenon, susceptible to a single explanation, when some do it for gain, others for thrills, yet others for sexual gratification, some for fame or notoriety, and some for no discernible reason at all?

He does not think so.

Explanation is a holy grail: no matter how long sought it is never found. We shall never explain human behaviour; we shall never cease trying to explain it.

When whim is law

The victims

Some of the victims

Reflections on the case of Frederick and Rosemary West

The serial killers’ path, writes Dalrymple,

was smoothed by the increasing uncertainty as to the line between acceptable and unacceptable conduct, or even whether such a line exists.

Increasing sexual permissiveness

was taken by the Wests, whose libidos were a great deal stronger than their powers of reason, to entail a complete absence of limits; they told those whom they raped that what they were doing was only ‘natural’ and unobjectionable.

The cellar

The cellar

They operated

in an atmosphere in which, increasingly, self-discipline was not accepted as a necessary condition of freedom—in which everyone’s merest whim was law.

The case reveals

how easily, in the anonymity of the modern urban environment, and in the midst of crowds, people may disappear.

Such disappearances

are made all the easier by a collective refusal—in the name of individual liberty—of parents to take responsibility for their children, of neighbours to notice what is happening around them, of anyone to brave the mockery of libertines in the defence of some standard of decency.

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The evil

The various public agencies—the police, the schools, the social services, the hospitals—proved no substitute

for the personal concern that families were once supposed to have provided, but that, in a permissive climate in which tolerance all too often shades into indifference, many provide no longer.

The failure of these agencies

was not accidental, but inherent in their nature as bureaucracies: the state is not, and never will be, a substitute for an old-fashioned Mum and Dad.

Sadistic Murderers Against Famine

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Necrophiliacs Against Infant Mortality

We are a hair’s breadth away from these, says Dalrymple, as he draws our attention to a state-subsidised enterprise called Fuck for Forest:

In a world in which rock stars can set themselves up, and actually have people accept them, as moral authorities, it is hardly surprising that pornography has become a charitable activity.

The cry of one of Fuck for Forest’s creators, Tommy Hol Ellingsen, is: ‘How far are you willing to go to save the planet?’ Dalrymple has this to say:

Hayek wrote that a social conscience might be but a mask for selfishness and licence: one’s personal conduct, after all, can scarcely compete in importance with the fate of the world. Ellingsen turns Hayek’s proposition inside out, complaining that his public sex act worried more people than did the destruction of the rainforest. Either one favours Ellingsen having sex in public, or one favours the destruction of the rainforest: no other possibility exists. By this rhetorical blackmail, it is possible to push back the frontiers of the permissible indefinitely, for once a man has declared himself to be doing something for the sake of a good cause, his actions are beyond criticism. The expression of the right opinions becomes the whole of virtue. The more general and more generous-sounding they are, the better the person uttering them. If his opinions are correct enough, he finds himself exonerated from the need to refrain from doing anything he wishes.

(2005)