Mercedes Prunty, Facebook-

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Eastbourne to most of its residents is a somewhat sleepy, touristic and sun shine filled town that is full of people going about their daily lives, or holidaying there for some seaside fun down by the pier for some delicious fish and chips. Not many will know about one of its dark secrets, the somewhat strange case of a serial killer called, Dr John Bodkin Adams!

Many moons ago in 1957 the name of Dr Bodkin was headline news, along with the small town of Eastbourne. The so called serial killer doctor had been found out, his hideous crimes consisted of targeting the elderly, mostly female patients and getting them to change their wills to leave money and belongings to him, cutting these people off from their friends and family and then going on to kill them with lethal doses in injections of Heroin and Morphine.

The killer doctor was arrested, and his trial soon became one of the biggest plot twisting cases in the history of trials in that era. He didn’t help himself either by not wanting to give evidence, but that was not the biggest twist of all, oh no, the huge twist was in fact that he was found by the jury, NOT GUILTY! The case began with the mysterious death of a woman called Mrs Edith Morrell, whose nurses had worked alongside Doctor Bodkin and told of him using large injection doses on her before her death. Then again when a Mrs Hullett died which was when the case went to court. The doctor had by both women been left Rolls Royces and other grand objects of their possessions, but there were many other cases, around 160 other patients that had died in questionable ways in Doctor Bodkin’s care. Another thing that gripped the attention of the courts and the media at the time was his wealth, he was apparently one of the richest GP’s in England who owner a grand eight bedroomed house in the Eastbourne town. The case ended with Dr John Bodkin Adams being found not guilty, some say with the help of people in high places, but I guess we will never know all the ins and outs of why the jury came to that decision.


Now many years after the case and his death people have investigated his story and are asking whether it was really ‘Murder?’ Or a form of ‘Euthanasia?’ And they also ask whether he had really done wrong or whether it was small town gossip, grown huge in scale by the media? Back in the day when he was alive and working, it wasn’t completely unknown for the wealthy to leave money and or gifts in wills for their doctors and GP’s, and although he was known to be a ‘NOT’ so brilliant doctor it was said that people liked his bedside manner. Could it be that people did just leave him their things voluntarily because they liked him? Or did he in fact manipulate them into doing it?

Dr Bodkin didn’t actually start his life in good old Eastbourne, he grew up in Ireland with parents that were said to be highly religious and it has been told that when Bodkin was a child and he had misbehaved he would be beaten for his sins as punishment, this perhaps making him the man he grew up to be? Because he had ‘maybe’ learnt to lie and deceive to avoid a beating and used these techniques later in life. He had also got away with being called to World War 2 due to his mother’s family tradition of them training to be doctors. His mother, when he qualified as a doctor had dreams of him treating patients in another country and so he moved to the seaside town of Eastbourne, where he began his apparent tirade on the coincidental town nicknamed ‘God’s waiting room’, due to the number of wealthy retirees that came and moved and lived within the town.

As Bodkin became successful he purchased a house within the town, a rather large eight bedroomed house called ‘Kent Lodge’, which was his surgery as well as his home. The house since his trial fell into disrepair but was taken on by someone else who has since converted it into a home and some apartments.

I couldn’t resist the temptation of going to visit the house which is only a short drive away from me and is now in a road called ‘Trinity Trees’, which was once named ‘Seaside’. Standing outside the yellow coloured home of a serial killer doctor was a little unnerving, thinking back to all those people he potentially killed there. I also took my mum and sister along with me to see it as it is only a short walk from their own home and my mum told me that she believes the house to be haunted. She works in a building behind ‘Kent Lodge’, and she suspected for years that the building she works in to be haunted, but since telling her about Doctor Bodkin and the wherabouts of his home she now believes the cold chills and hauntings to be coming from his old home and infecting neighbouring buildings!

What do you think about the strange case of Doctor John Bodkin Adams? Was he a murdering serial killer? Or a Doctor of mercy?