Daily Mail - - Friday Books -

by Dr Richard Shep­herd

(Pen­guin £8.99, 464 pp) ‘FROM an early age I have had a re­la­tion­ship with death that is both in­ti­mate and dis­tant,’ writes foren­sic pathol­o­gist Dr Richard Shep­herd, whose mother died when he was nine years old. As a teenager, he dis­cov­ered a copy of Simp­son’s Foren­sic Medicine, and ‘my fu­ture be­came clear to me’.

His ca­reer as one of our most em­i­nent foren­sic pathol­o­gists meant that he was in­volved in high­pro­file cases — Stephen Lawrence’s mur­der, Harold Shipman, the Hunger­ford mas­sacre and 9/11.

He is frank about the per­sonal cost of con­duct­ing some 20,000 post­mortems: his first mar­riage ended, and he suf­fered from PTSD.

But, hap­pily re­mar­ried and with his health re­stored, he re­turned to the work he loved, de­ci­pher­ing the last mo­ments of vic­tims with re­spect and fair­ness.

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