Crimes of murderer Malcolm Webster explored in three-part drama The Widower

Factual drama, The Widower, which is based on the crimes of convicted murderer Malcolm Webster will be shown on STV on Monday (March 17).

Over a 13 year period the male nurse poisoned and murdered his first wife, attempted to do the same to his second wife and moved on to a further scheme to deceive his third fiancée.

The League of Gentlemen's Reece Shearsmith will portray the convicted murderer while stage and screen actress Sheridan Smith takes the role of his first wife, Claire Morris.

Claire and Malcolm wed in Aberdeen’s King’s College Chapel in front of her parents, family and friends in September 1993. Things then take a sinister turn.

Eight months later Webster, who was working as a nurse, had systematically poisoned Claire leaving her comatose, lethargic and hardly capable of walking.

He then plotted her death in a tragic ‘car crash’, swerving off the road into some woods and then setting the car alight with her still unconscious inside. He feigned injury and did not tell witnesses arriving at the scene that his wife was in the car until it was too late. The crash was deemed to be an accident by police at the time.

The show next picks up Webster three years later, now settled in New Zealand, on his wedding day to his second wife Felicity Drumm, played by Kate Fleetwood from Waking the Dead. Webster starts drugging her on their honeymoon, in preparation for systematically emptying her bank account of her savings. His plans to murder her and cash in on a slew of forged life insurance policies were put back, however, when Felicity fell pregnant. For a while Webster seemed content to be a husband and father.

But when he was about to be exposed for lying about his ‘wealth’, as the couple were set to complete on a house purchase that Webster could not fund, he made an abortive attempt to set fire to the house he and Felicity were sharing with Felicity’s parents.

When this failed he attempted to engineer another “car accident”, but this time Felicity - though she had no idea what Webster was about to do - awoke from a drugged slumber before Webster could set the car alight. Realising that his fraudulent schemes were about to be revealed, he disappeared once again.

He surfaces back in Scotland four years later, attempting to woo yet another nurse, Simone Banarjee, played by Archie Panjabi from The Infidel in Argyll in 2004. He proposes without telling Simone that he is still married, but from New Zealand Felicity has alerted the Scottish police to who Webster really is.

Detective Inspector Charlie Henry, Head of CID for Argyll and Bute, is played by John Hannah. He must try to stop Webster before he can make Simone his next victim.

Jeff Pope, Head of Factual Drama at ITV Studios, said: "This is a quite extraordinary story, far more chilling than any fiction. Webster was a banal, almost benign face of evil.

"He was so clever at hiding his tracks and presenting a plausible front to his friends, family and colleagues that he was able to do what he did without really attracting suspicion. The courage and tenacity of Webster’s second wife Felicity, and his last intended victim Simone, is all that stood between him and potentially more murders."

The Widower will debut on STV at 9pm on Monday (March 17).