Leeds killer John Taylor claimed to be card-playing pal of murderous GP Harold Shipman

John Taylor.John Taylor.
John Taylor.
Perverted killer John Taylor is held in Wakefield's top security jail where he was once pals with one of history's most prolific serial killers - Dr Harold Shipman.

Taylor gave evidence at Shipman’s inquest and described how he was a trusted member of a card school which included the killer GP.

Taylor - then aged 49 - was brought to the inquest hearing held at Leeds Crown Court in 2005.

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Other high profile sex offenders and notorious serial killers also gave evidence at the hearing.

It provided a rare snapshot of the bizarre world of the prison which has long been dubbed “Monster Mansion”.

In January 2000 Shipman was found guilty of fifteen murders of patients under his care.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with the recommendation that he never be released.

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An inquiry later identified 218 victims and estimated his total victim count at 250, about 80 per cent of whom were elderly women.

Taylor described how he was part of a card-playing group which included Shipman and two other inmates on D-Wing.

He also claimed at the hearing how two prison officers had offered Shipman rope to hang himself.

Shipman hanged himself in his cell on the morning of January 13, 2004.

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Other inmates to give evidence included killer David Smith, who described Shipman as his “best friend” after getting to know him when he learned the disgraced doctor had a Scrabble board.

Retired lorry driver Smith was jailed for murdering Amanda Walker and burying her body in a shallow grave in woodland in Surrey.

Smith picked up Miss Walker, originally from Leeds, in central London after attending a party.

He had sex with her, killed and mutilated her and dumped her blood-stained clothing on a footpath a mile from his home.

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Smith and Shipman were one half of the card school which gathered around a table on landing three of the wing each evening before ‘lock-up’.

Taylor and rapist Gary Howat were the other two members of the card-playing group.

Howat told how Shipman would regularly hold impromptu surgeries for prisoners in his cell or as they queued to use the telephone.

Shipman would offer diabetic Howat advice on his diet.

Serial killer Peter Moore was another member of Shipman’s inner circle of friends.

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Moore, a theatre owner, murdered and mutilated four men in 1995 in rural towns in north Wales.

Moore, from Rhyl, who boasted that he stabbed his victims “for fun”, said he always referred to Shipman as ‘The Doctor.’

He had become “quite friendly” with Shipman as they walked in the exercise yard.

They would often discuss Shipman’s English Literature course which he had started at Wakefield and the GP told him about his research for a book he was writing on Napoleon.

Moore also suggested that Shipman write an autobiography, to which he replied: “There’s plenty of time for that.”