"Serious Personality Disorder"
By 26 July 1991, police felt that they had sufficient evidence to charge Allitt with murder but it wasn’t until November 1991 that she was formally charged.Allitt showed calm and restraint under interrogation, denying any part in the attacks, insisting she had merely been caring for the victims. A search of her home revealed parts of the missing nursing log. Further extensive background checks by the police indicated a pattern of behaviour that pointed to a very serious personality disorder. Allitt exhibited symptoms of both Munchausen’s syndrome, and Munchausen’s syndrome by Proxy, which are characterised by gaining attention through illness. With Munchausen’s syndrome, physical or psychological symptoms are either self-induced or feigned in oneself to gain attention. Munchausen’s by Proxy involves inflicting injury on others to gain attention for oneself. It is fairly unusual for an individual to present with both conditions.Allitt’s behaviour in adolescence appeared to be typical of Munchausen’s syndrome and, when this behaviour failed to elicit the desired reactions in others, she began to harm her young patients in order to satisfy her desire to be noticed.Despite visits and assessments by a number of healthcare professionals whilst in prison, Allitt refused to confess what she had done. After a series of hearings, Allitt was charged with four counts of murder, 11 counts of attempted murder, and 11 counts of causing grievous bodily harm. As she awaited her trial, she rapidly lost weight and developed anorexia nervosa, a further indication of her psychological problems.