NINE LIVES

biographies

top row, left to right:

• FREDERICK SEDDON (1872-1912) A landlord who ‘financially advised’ his tenant then poisoned her with arsenic extracted from flypapers. Swindled of their inheritance, her relatives insisted her contaminated body was exhumed.

 

• ADELAIDE BARTLETT (1855-86) A baffling case since the mystery of how chloroform got into her husband’s stomach with no trace found in his throat remains unsolved. She was acquitted, though some experts queried her innocence.

 

• DR WILLIAM PALMER (1824-56) The Rugeley Poisoner trained as a physician, but gave it up to breed racehorses. A blackmailer and forger, he poisoned a racing companion and members of his own family for pure financial gain.

 

middle row, left to right:

• GEORGE CHAPMAN (1865-1903) The Polish barber-surgeon had several names and mistresses who often posed as his wife. He killed three ‘spouses’ and, though his modus was poison not mutilation, he was also considered a Ripper suspect.

 

• DR THOMAS CREAM (1850-92) Leaving a trail of suspicious deaths on both sides of the Atlantic, he desired and despised whores with ferocious intensity. The Lambeth Poisoner ‘prescribed’ pills to victims and boasted he was Jack the Ripper.

 

• MARY BLANDY (1721-52) The engaging daughter of a wealthy Henley-on-Thames solicitorfed her father poisonous gruel, encouraged by her insidious married lover of whom he disapproved.

 

bottom row, left to right:

• DR EDWARD PRITCHARD (1825-65) Moving house after the suspicious death of one servant, the doctor aborted his child with another. He dispensed fatal tonics to his wife and her visiting mother who died after eating tapioca pudding.

 

• MARY ANN COTTON (1832-73) Britain’s most prolific serial killer prior to Harold Shipman. The ‘grieving’ widow and sometime nurse,insured and murdered three husbands, ten children, five stepchildren, her mother, her sister and a lover.

• GRAHAM YOUNG (1948-90) Though his stepmother’s death went undetected, he used chemicals to gain power as a child. After a period in Broadmoor, he poisoned his new co-workers’ tea. Struck down one by one, it led to two deaths.