A life insurance firm has been branded “distasteful” for picturing murderer Harold Shipman in an advertising campaign.
Dead Happy used an image of the serial killer to promote its services with the tagline “Life Insurance. Because you never know who your doctor might be.”
Known to the public as Doctor Death, Harold Shipman is one of the worst serial killers in modern history. During his time as a GP, he is estimated to have killed 250 victims.
Senior insurance advisers across the UK have slammed the advertising campaign. Kathryn Knowles, founder of Cura Financial Services, tweeted that “many of us in insurance find this beyond despicable”, urging the Financial Conduct Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority to take action.
Knowles’ sentiments have been matched across the industry. FCA-regulated firm Insurance Services wonder whether the company has thought about its customers at all, branding it in “bad taste” in a tweet.
It isn’t just insurance firms that are speaking out. A family member of one of Shipman’s victims issued a statement via social media.
“As someone whose relative was murdered by Harold Shipman, your latest advert utilising his image is despicable and unacceptable”, he wrote. “I hope you enjoy yet another judgement from the ASA and change your practices.”
Shipman was found guilty of murdering 15 patients under his care in January 2000, sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order. He was originally arrested in September 1998.
The British Government later conducted a two-year investigation into the deaths certified by Shipman, revealing that he targeted vulnerable elderly people. He killed his victims either using a fatal dose of drugs or by prescribing them an abnormal amount.
The Shipman Inquiry found that the GP had killed at least 215 people, estimating that he may have killed as many as 260. It investigated a total of 618 deaths between 1974 and 1998.