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Doctors in the Dock cover front smaller for web.jpg

paperback £9.99

kindle £3.99

isbn 9798606313877

available from amazon

pages 293

Doctors In The Dock – Fascinating Murder Trials Of Three Medical Doctors

This collection of cases takes the reader into the essentially private world of three general medical practitioners, all practising in England from the 1930s until the 1990s.

  • Dr Harold Shipman 

  • Dr Buck Ruxton 

  • Dr John Bodkin Adams 

Their backgrounds are very different, but they are linked because they all stood trial for murder, with motives ranging from the power over life and death, and a preoccupation with social advancement and greed, to obsessive jealousy and paranoia. 

Each of these cases has attracted widespread public attention and has been the subject of numerous publications and documentaries. This work approaches the subject of murder in an innovative way. 

Each case commences with a brief outline of the subject’s background, progresses to the criminal events, and culminates in details of the trial itself. 

This approach fully involves the reader rather than allowing them to remain as passive observers. It enables them to place themselves in the position of being a potential juror before being invited to consider their own verdict. Each of the cases concludes with an overview of the main aspects for the reader’s final consideration.


Dr David Holding studied history at Manchester University before entering the teaching profession in the 1970s. He taught in both state and independent sectors. During this time, he continued historical research culminating in both a Master's degree and a Doctorate. Having previously studied law, David gained a Master of Law degree in Medical Law, which enabled him to transfer to teaching legal courses at university. Since retiring, David has concentrated his research and writing on various aspects of local history, legal trials, forensic science and medico-legal topics.


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Review by Dr John Henry

In Doctors in the Dock”, David Holding has done much more than simply record the crimes of three medical men facing murder charges. Holding’s selection of doctors is itself well thought out. Not only does David Holding follow the usual meticulous research and objectivity, he has chosen three distinct periods in English history. Setting the three cases in one book allows the reader, to see and, perhaps come to conclusions based on life as it was ‘then’ rather than ‘now’. Although the trial of Dr Shipman took place in the 1990s, it seems to belong to a different era. Yet, it remains almost familiar. In three distinct periods, Holding shows that justice remained constant in a changing English society.

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