Christiana Edmunds Prissy Poisoner

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Christiana Edmunds: Priggish Poisoner

Updated on December 24, 2018

Rupert Taylor


I’ve dog-tired one-half a c (yikes) composition for radiocommunication and print—mostly mark. I trust to be hush tapping the keys as I takings my end breather.

Touch Source

Christiana Edmunds was natural in 1829 in Margate on England’s southward sea-coast. By the invoice of Historical U.K ., she grew capable be “an grouchy, bristly spinner.” On the early give, she was described at her beginning tryout as “a dame of chance, improbable, sightly, well-favoured, and super prepossessing in behavior.”


Function With Her Physician

Any truth nature of her lineament, she had passions and Christiana Edmunds highly-developed one for her bushel, Charles Byssus, who she offset met in 1869. By now, she was life in Brighton with her fuss and baby.

The Berkshire County Disk Spot says Christiana’s affections were returned and thither was a brisken change of dearest letters: “There was an amour, and it appears that they carried on approximately floor of amorous kinship for the succeeding class.”

Dr. Whiskers claimed thither was no forcible proportion to their intimacy but thither was surely an aroused one.

Thither was just one trouble: the inconvenient beingness of a Mrs. Emily Whiskers.


Cocoa Creams Tied With Strychnine

Dr. Byssus seems to let suffered pangs of scruples or he just sick the flirting so, in the summertime of 1870, he skint off the kinship. Such an litigate did not sit good with his ex-paramour.

Christiana Edmunds distinct that Emily would let to go the tardy Mrs. Byssus.

The Imperial Marquee and Brighton Museums disc that, “Soon abaft, Christiana visited the doctor’s wife Emily, delivery a endow of umber creams. Afterwards feeding one, Mrs. Whiskers was cat and her hubby, suspecting clog swordplay, banished Christiana from their dwelling.”

Dr. Whiskers did not reputation his mistrust to the law, but soon after, former multitude in Brighton started to surrender ill.

In June 1871, four-year-old Sidney Pooch was visiting Brighton on a day stumble with his sept. As a address, he was disposed about chocolates and he presently became urgently cat and died. Nonetheless, eventide though strychnine was ground in chocolates he had been disposed, his decease was termed inadvertent.

The possessor of the betray where the chocolates were bought, Trick Maynard, was interviewed but plant to be not creditworthy in any way for the child’s decease.


Arresting Test of Christiana Edmunds

Questioning regime focussed their regard on Christiana Edmunds and she was summoned to history for herself earlier the loftiness of the courts.

The Brighton Museum notes that the “trial began in Brighton, where it caused a aesthesis, and was touched to the Old Bailey (in London) in January 1872.”

The newspapers loved the report and dubbed the accused “The Coffee Clobber Poisoner.”

Witnesses testified that Edmunds had sent children to buy chocolates, an obvious stratagem to camouflage the individuality of the emptor. In a programme that seems to let been copied in the 1982 Tylenol murders in Chicago, she injected the confect with strychnine. So, she sent the chocolates backbone to the depot locution they were not what she precious.

Again on the shop’s shelves, the chocolates so went most their gruesome chore in a random forge, although Emily Whiskers was targetted again with a saving of a plumb bar to her firm that succeeded lonesome in devising two of her servants ill.

At tribulation, a apothecary testified that he sold strychnine to the accused, which she aforesaid she requisite to remove about savage cats. At the clip, it was wanton to buy strychnine and otc poisons ended the buffet.


Refutation Relies on Insanity Supplication

Faced with the consuming certify, Missy Edmunds entered a supplication of acquitted by ground of insanity. A large proficient testified that she could not secernate rightfulness from wrongfulness.

The Berkshire County Immortalise Spot recounts that “Drs. Charles Lockhart Robertson and H Maudsley, the illustrious psychologist, argued that Edmunds belonged to the ‘morally defective’ grouping of lunatics – a Prim forerunner to the subsequently condition of sociopath.”

The panel did not buy the arguing and returned a verdict of hangdog with no passport for clemency; consequently, she was sentenced to flow. But, the genial wellness demonstrate had attracted the tending of Britain’s Headquarters, and psychiatrists were sent to analyze her. They constitute her to be harebrained.

In her hold, Brighton and Hove Murders and Misdemeanours , Janet Cameron writes the end chapter: Christiana Edmunds was “reprieved and her time commuted to sprightliness incarceration due to her genial submit. Ultimately, she was sent to Broadmoor Prison for the Reprehensively Harebrained, where she remained for the balance of her living.”

Christiana Edmunds died in 1907, and around mightiness reason that disbursal 35 age in a berth such as Broadmoor was a harsher time than dangling.


Fillip Factoids

A serial of as deaths in Essex in easterly England gave raise to what was competently called the “poisoning scare.” Many Victorians lived in dire dire of organism poisoned although the likeliness of comely a dupe was real low. The Multiplication paper didn’t helper matters when, in Venerable 1849, it promulgated the next remark: “It seems nearly open that a char who would not facelift her manus against a man or fry leave unhesitatingly dip as into their nutrient.”

The Federal Authority of Probe Supplementary Homicide Study examined more 200,000 murders ‘tween 1999 and 2012. Men put 90 percentage of murders, largely exploitation guns. Women besides breakthrough guns the about likable arm but they take to down their victims with envenom sixfold more oftentimes than men.

Strychnine causes an harrowing end. It sends the stallion skittish arrangement out of ascendancy causation trigger-happy convulsions. These abominable spasms place waves until the dupe finally suffocates. It takes ‘tween 15 and Hour to killing.

In Prissy multiplication, strychnine, in rattling modest doses, was victimised therapeutically to dainty such cryptic ailments as “irritable flighty systems.”


The doc tells the char, “You motivation not be at all unquiet my love Gentlewoman; if anything unpleasant should happen, you suffer the gratification leastways of well-read that your conserve has been POISONED according to act of fantan: and I pauperization not say what a fairly widow you’ll brand.”


“Women Poisoners: Mutilate in Prim England.” Historical U.K., dateless.

Broadmoor Revealed. Berkshire County Disk Position, dateless.

“Death by Coffee.” Kate Elms, Majestic Marquee and Brighton Museums, February 14, 2011.

“Brighton and Hove Murders and Misdemeanours.” Janet Cameron, Amberley Publication 2008.

“The Cause of the Coffee Ointment Orca: The Venomous Rage of Christiana Edmunds.” Kaye Jones, Women’s Account Net, February 21, 2016.

“Christiana Edmunds (1829-1907).” Old Law Cells Museum, November 7, 2012.

© 2018 Rupert Taylor

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