Professor Keith Simpson

 

 

Simpson's life

 

Cedric Keith Simpson was born on 20th July 1907 near Brighton, Sussex, England. He went to school at Brighton and Hove Grammar School, and studied medicine at Guy's Hospital between 1924 and 1932.

He married a nurse, Mary Buchanan that year, subsequently having 3 children with her. She died of multiple sclerosis in 1955; in 1956 Simpson remarried, to Jean Scott Dunn, his secretary, who died in 1976. In 1982, he married again, to Janet Thurston - widow of the coroner Gavin Thurston - and died in 1985.

During the 1930s he performed post mortem examinations whilst working as a pathology demonstrator, and started to take on more medicolegal work at a time when Spilsbury was less active.

He was reader in forensic medicine at the University of London in 1946 and professor in 1962; he retired from Guy's Hospital Forensic Medicine Department in 1972.

Simpson was a founding member of the British Association in Forensic Medicine, serving as its President in 1966, and was appointed CBE in 1975.

Whilst he was editor of the 11th and 12th Editions of Taylor's Principles and Practice of Medical Jurisprudence, his written legacy rests in the form of his enormously popular student textbook on the subject, first published in 1947 and now due to enter its 13th Edition.

'Forty Years of Murder' was Simpson's autobiography, becoming an international best-seller.

Simpson in the mortuary

Stills from the Horizon special TV programme, originally transmitted in 1977, clips of which were shown in the BBC4 programme 'Watching the dead'.

Simpson interviewed for Horizon programme

Stills from the Horizon special TV programme originally transmitted in 1977, clips of which were shown in the BBC4 programme 'Watching the dead'.

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