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UK The St. Neots Poisoner (1890's solved case)

Discussion in 'Europe: Crimes & Trials' started by Ladyslug, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. Ladyslug

    Ladyslug Bronze Member

    The reason I am writing here about an old solved case is because this was the main reason I got into true crime.
    My gran use to do a talk at family history groups called murder in the family, because we are related to the killer to 3 of his 4 victims.

    In 1890 my 3x great aunt Fanny James went from the small village she lived in huntingdonshire, to kettering to stay with her sister. She was upset over a man called Walter Horsford, her father did not want her seeing. On the 30 december she received a letter from Walter, later that day she got very ill and is reported to have said to her sister Walter Horsford what have you done. Not long after she was dead, Her death certificate listed cause of death as “Death through eating a hearty supper.”

    Walter Horsford was Hanged 28 june 1898 for the murder of Annie Holmes (nee Mash)

    At Cambridge Goal.
    Annie Holmes was 38 years old and widowed she had 2 teenage children and a young baby, she was worried she was pregnant by Walter Horsford and he sent her a tonic. She died 7 January 1898.

    The trial of Walter Horsford

    Alot of the trial can be found online

    will post some more soon.
    spike and fran like this.
  2. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Intriguing! What kind of toxin was used, I wonder?
    spike and fran like this.
  3. Ladyslug

    Ladyslug Bronze Member

    The murder of Annie Holmes (nee Mash)
    Annie was worried she was pregnant so told Walter as she suspected he was the father, being as she was widowed with 3 children to look after she was very upset by this.
    On the 7th of January 1898 Annie Holmes takes a powder and becomes very ill with convulsions - the doctor is called. He suspects poison and she dies soon afterwards. A policeman searches the house and finds a crumpled piece if paper, it is sent for analysis. Horsford is sent a telegram telling him to attend an inquest.
    On the saturday an Inquest is held. At this time no poison has been found. At the inquest, Horsford denies having a relationship with Annie Holmes or sending her anything. A post-mortem is carried out and Annie Holmes buried.

    this is a note found in Annies house after the inquest and with this some grains of strychnine where found.
    spike and Kimster like this.
  4. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Oh yeah, it was harmless all right!
    spike likes this.
  5. Ladyslug

    Ladyslug Bronze Member

    On 28th January 1898 Annie Holmes body is exhumed and examined and the organs sent to Dr Stephens in London. Where tests prove she died from strychnine poisoning.

    The Trial of Walter Horsford was in nearly every english paper and also alot of Australian and New Zealand papers (several groups of ancestors of mine from huntingdonshire had emigrated there in the 1850's)
    One of the big peices of evidence is the record log from a chemist in Tharpston which shows a purchase of strychinine by walter Horsford. (my gran has a copy of this which i will hopefully get a picture of to post soon).They had several witnesses to say that the writing on both the note to Annie and on the chemists book was that of walter.
    Kimster likes this.

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