by the body being removed it would give them an opportunity of cleansing
the room. I am not suggesting that the room was not clean, but the
smell was very pregnant, it suggested itself to me as being a smell of
faeces, and therefore I suggested that the body should be removed at the
same time with the coffin. There is nothing unusual in a body being
removed in that way.
Even with people who are very much attached to the dead person?
When there are no unpleasant surroundings we are very often asked to
do that. There was nothing unusual in the funeral being from our place.
I should say that it was shortly after three o'clock when the telephone
message came to me that Thursday afternoon. I have a reason for
thinking that it was not as late as four or five. I did not suggest
Saturday as the day for the funeral. I simply put the question to the
prisoner. He said, " When can the funeral be? " and I said, " Whenever
you like." He said, " Saturday " ; and I replied, " If you wish it." If
we did not bury on Saturday it would mean burying on Monday, and
having regard to the state that the body was in and the diarrhoea that
had taken place, the warmth of the weather, and the fact that there was
no lead lining to the coffin, it seemed quite reasonable that the body
should be buried on Saturday. There is nothing at all unusual in a
person who died early on Thursday morning being buried under these
conditions on the Saturday.
Re-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Shown envelope marked
No. 135.) That is an envelope which comes from my establishment. I
cannot recognise the handwriting either on the inside or on the outside.
WALTER THORLET, examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL I am a
chemist and druggist carrying on business at 27 Crouch Hill. I remember
a girl coming to my shop with reference to some fly-papers in the summer
of 1911. I remember subsequently identifying that girl at the police
office, the girl being Margaret Ann Seddon I think her second name is
Ann. She was about fifteen years old. I was present when she stood
forward in the Police Court in the presence of the prisoners. She did not
say anything, but I heard her addressed in the presence of the prisoners
as Margaret Seddon. I remember the date on which she came to my
shop ; it was 26th August, 1911. She made a purchase at my shop.
Will you tell us what it was she purchased? A threepenny packet oi
Mr. MARSHALL HALL I formally object to this evidence as evidence
Evidence for Prosecution.
against the prisoners, but if your lordship thinks it is evidence I shall not
press it at this stage. I say, however, that this evidence cannot be
evidence against the prisoners. For instance, if two persons, A and B,
are charged with the wilful murder of D, ho\v can it be evidence against
either A or B to say that C bought papers containing arsenic?
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL Your lordship will observe the question I
put. I submit I am entitled to prove the fact that a purchase was made
by the girl who, according to the evidence, lived and helped in the house.
Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL When you have proved that Margaret Seddon
lived in the house, then I think it is clearly evidence, but you are now
rather putting the cart before the horse.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL It has been proved, my lord. Mary Chater,
the servant, proved it, and so did Ernie Grant. Mary Chater said, " I
slept in the room with Maggie and her youngest sister."
Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL The mere fact 'Ehat Margaret Seddon was the
daughter of the accused people is not enough. On evidence being
adduced that Margaret Seddon was living in the house on 26th August,
1911, with her parents I shall admit the evidence.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL I think I am right in saying that it has
been proved, but it can be put beyond all question.
Mr. MARSHALL HALL There is another objection, and that is that
if there is evidence of this why does not the prosecution call Margaret
Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL That is an observation ; it is not an objection
at the present moment.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL That leads to the retort that it is open to
my learned friend to call Margaret Seddon.
Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL You had better call the girl Chater again.
M. E. E. CHATER, recalled, further examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL
During the time that I was a servant at Mr. and Mrs. Seddon' s, Margaret
or Maggie, the daughter, lived there. She slept in the house throughout
the whole time, and took part in the household duties, cleaning the floors,
doing the kitchen upstairs, and all that kind of thing.
Further cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL Did Maggie Seddon
sleep there every night? Yes.
Was she never away? No.
Did she not go to Southend? Well, she went there once. I could
not say the exact date, but she did go down there. I cannot give an
idea of the exact date.
How soon after Miss Barrow was taken ill did she go down to
Southend? I could not say the date, but she went down I know. I do
not know on what day it was that Miss Barrow came back from Southend.
WALTER THORLEY, recalled, examination continued On 26th August,
1911, Margaret Seddon purchased from me a threepenny packet of
Mather's fly-papers. There were six fly-papers in each packet, and they
were similar to the packet of Mather's fly-papers now shown me, exhibit
136. Outside that packet I see "Mather's Chemical Fly-papers. To
poison flies, wasps, ants, mosquitoes, &c. Prepared only by the sole
Trial of the Seddons.
proprietors, W. Mather, Limited, Dyer Street, Manchester. Poison.
These arsenic fly-papers can only be sold by registered chemists, and in
accordance with the provisions of the Pharmacy Act." The words,
" These arsenic fly-papers," are in larger print than the other portion
of the sentence. Taking one of the papers out, I find that in the centre
it contains the following: "Directions for use. For flies, wasps, ants,
mosquitoes, &c., spread each paper on a dish or plate and keep moist
with cold water. A little sugar, beer, or wine added two or three times
a day makes them more attractive. Caution. Remove the tray or dish
beyond the reach of children and out of the way of domestic animals."
Then, at the bottom of it, there is "Poison."
(Fly-papers were handed to the jury, who examined them.)
I would not like to say definitely how many grains of arsenic there
are in each of those fly-papers ; there might be more in one than in another.
I do not keep any note of my sales. I think there is a large sale for those
fly-papers ; I myself sold many of them last year. I was asked about
this sale of Mather's fly-papers about a week before the day on which
I gave evidence at the Police Court, which day I remember was 2nd
February, 1912. I was asked to go into a room where there were about
twenty women and girls to identify the girl I had sold the fly-paperB to.
Nobody went with me.
Did you identify her? Yes.
Did you subsequently see her in Court? Yes.
In the presence of the prisoners? Yes.
And did you hear her addressed by name? Yes.
As? Margaret Seddon.
Cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL Margaret Ann Seddon is the
name of the prisoner? I cannot tell for certain the second name, but it
was Margaret Seddon.
Was there any second name at all? I believe so.
On 26th August, 1911, you say a girl came and bought some fly-
papers at your shop. Did you ever see the girl who came to your shop to
buy those fly-papers until 2nd February, 1912, when you professed to
identify her at the Police Court? I may have done.
Did you? I cannot say for certain.
Will you say that you did? No, I cannot recollect.
What sort of a day was 26th August? A Saturday.
Was it a hot day, or a cloudy day, or a fine day, or a wet day, or
what? It was a hot day.
It was a very hot summer? Yes.
Was this a hot day like the rest of the hot summer ? Yes.
Do you know that there was only one hour's sunshine on that day?
Saturday, 26th August, was the exceptional day of that year, with
very little sunshine, but you remember it was a day with bright sunshine?
The ATTORNEY- GENERAL He has not said that.
Mr. MARSHALL HALL He said it was a bright hot day like the other
(To Witness) Can you tell me who was the customer you served
before or the customer you served after this girl? No.
Evidence for Prosecution.
How many packets of these Mather's fly-papers did you sell this last
season? The last season or in August?
In August, if you like? Sixteen.
Sixteen packets? Yes.
And eight dozen during the season? Eight dozen in August.
Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL Where does the sixteen come in then?
Mr. MARSHALL HALL Sixteen packets is eight dozen papers.
(To Witness) Did you keep a record of the papers or the persona
they were sold to? No.
Do you not know that under the Pharmacy Act you are required to
keep a record of the persons to whom you sold the papers ? No.
Did you know that those papers contained two, three, or even four
grains of arsenic a-piece? I can realise it.
But can you sell two, three, or four grains of arsenic to a person? No.
Yet you can sell the paper which contains it? Yes.
Witnout registration? Yes.
As a matter of fact, do Messrs. Mather, who make these papers, supply
you with a book in which to record the persons who buy them? Yes.
Do you use it? No.
Do you know a Mr. Price, a chemist? Yes.
He is a witness in this case? Yes.
Does he carry on business somewhere near you? Yes.
On 2nd February you were fetched in a motor car, were you not, by
the police? Yes.
To come to the Police Court. Did Mr. Price, the chemist, come down
in the same motor car with you? Yes.
Did you know that Mr. Price was coming down to the Police Court to
prove that on 6th December (I want the jury to bear the date in mind
very carefully, because, if your lordship will allow me to say, the prisoner
was arrested on 4th December) Margaret Seddon had tried to buy some
fly-papers from Mr. Price? No.
Do you swear that? Yes.
Did you ask Mr. Price what he was going down to the Police Court
Did you not know? I thought it would be something to do with
On the 2nd February, when this had been in the paper for weeks,
did you not know that you and Mr. Price were both going down to the
Police Court to give evidence? There was another person present.
Did you never have any conversation with Mr. Price? Not about what
we were going to do.
Not about the girl who had come to his shop for some fly-papers on
6th December? No.
Do you swear that? Yes.
You did not know Price was going to give evidence that Margaret
Seddon (and it was not disputed) had been to his shop with some other
young ladies on 6th December for the purpose of trying to buy some
fly-papers ? No.
And that he had refused to sell them? No.
You did not know that? No.
Trial of the Seddons.
That you swear? Yes.
Did you see an account of this inquest in the paper in November?
No; I did not read it at all.
Had you often seen Mr. Price? No.
Have you ever talked this case over with Mr. Price? No.
From 27th August, 1911, your attention was never called to it again
until one week before 2nd February? No, that is right.
How many customers do you think you serve a day? (No answer.)
A good many? Yes, a good many.
And a good many girls, do you not? Yes.
Had the police been to you in December to ask you if you had sold
any fly-papers to anybody about August or September? Yes.
Do you know that the police were making inquiries at other chemists'
shops in the neighbourhood early in December as to whether fly-papers had
been purchased, and, if so, by whom, in August and September of 1911?
Did you tell the police that you had no recollection of any purchase?
No. Of course, I had had purchases made.
Did they ask you if you had any record of the persons you had sold
them to? Yes.
And, of course, you told them you had no record? Yes.
Did they ask you if you could identify anybody to whom you had sold
fly-papers about that date? Yes.
And did you tell them that it was a long while ago, and that you
could not identify any one? (No answer.)
Did you tell them you could not identify anybody? I said I did not
know whether I could or not.
How many times did the police come to you in all? Oh, I do not
know; a good many times, I think.
And you were not able to bring your memory sufficiently accurately
back I will not put it stronger than that until February or the latter
end of January, 1912? (No answer.)
That is so; you were not able to give the police any information that
you could identify any one who had bought fly papers in August, 1911,
until February of 1912, could you? They never asked me before.
But you said they had been to you a good many times to ask you if
you could identify anybody at all. Do you really mean to tell me that
you profess to be able in the month of January, 1912, to identify a casual
girl who comes into your shop on the 26th August, 1911, and buys fly-
You do. Will you tell the jury how you profess to remember the date
of 26th August? You have no note, have you no memorandum of any
sort or shape? I have got my invoices. She had the last packet of a dozen
that was ordered on one day.
Did you keep a record of the sale of the last packet? No.
How do you know when the last packet was sold? She asked for four
Four packets or four papers? Four packets.
Twenty-four papers? Twenty-four papers.
Threepence a packet? Threepence a packet. That was the last one
Evidence for Prosecution.
I had. I put them down to order in the book, and told her she should
have some more on Monday.
Then you fix the date from the fact that you did sell your last packet
on 26th August? Yes.
Do you know the girl Margaret Seddon at all? Yes.
She is a friend of your daughter Mabel, is she not? She is known to
her. I did not know her as Margaret Seddon until I saw her in the Police
Court, although I have seen her about the neighbourhood.
The girl you identified in the Police Court as the person who came
to your shop to buy these fly-papers is somebody who has been to your
house to see your daughter Mabel? Yes.
On two occasions she called to see Mabel, did she not, and you opened
the door a private door? She did not come in.
You opened the door and said Mabel was not at home, and she went
away? Well, I could not identify anybody I did that to; I did that to
many other girls.
That is the point I am on. The person you identified as having bought
the papers after this lapse of time is the identification of somebody whom
you had seen on your premises having come to see your daughter. That
is the suggestion I make to you? I have seen her in the shop.
I suggest to you that you have made a mistake. I am not suggesting
that it is a wilful mistake, but I am suggesting to you that you have made
a mistake, and that the girl you identified on the 2nd February, 1912, as
the girl who had bought fly-papers at your establishment on 26th August,
1911, is not that girl, but the girl who had twice called at your place to
see your daughter Mabel. Do you still say that she is the girl who bought
the fly-papers? Yes.
Let us come to the identity. You are fetched in a motor car on 2nd
February. That is so, is it not? Yes.
You are brought down to the Police Court with Mr. Price and somebody
else in the car. Were you and Mr. Price taken in together to a room
where there were about twenty people? No, that was in the morning. I
came down by myself in the morning.
You had been down to the Police Court before you came down in the
motor car? Yes.
Had you seen a picture of Margaret Seddon in the papers? Yes.
Before you went to identify her? Not that day, before it.
You were taken down by the police to identify a girl whose picture
had been published in the illustrated papers, and which you had seen?
I refused to identify the girl from the pictures I had seen.
Of course, naturally you would, but the picture was shown to you for
the purpose of identification? It was not shown to me by the police.
Anyhow, you tell me you had seen it? Yes.
You had seen the picture of a girl whom you knew to be Margaret
Seddon, the daughter of the man who is charged with this murder, and you
are taken down by the police to identify that particular girl among twenty
others. That is so, is it not? (No answer.)
Is that so ? I do not know whether they knew I had seen the picture.
Did they not happen to ask you? No.
You knew you had seen the picture, did you not? Yes.
Trial of the Seddons.
Unless I had asked you would you have told anybody that you had
seen that picture? Yes.
It is a very important factor in the case, is it not, on the question
of identification? Out of those twenty people that you were taken to
identify was the girl you identified the only girl who had got her hair
down her back? No.
That you swear? Yes.
How many had? At least one other.
Was there anybody approaching her in height? Yes.
Of course, the moment you saw Margaret Seddon, that was a face
that was familiar to you? Yes.
Familiar to you for two reasons first, because you had seen it in
the illustrated papers ; secondly, because you had seen her come to the house
to meet your daughter. Anyhow, that would be a face familiar to you?
Re-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL Do you know the Seddons at
all have you had any acquaintance or friendship with them? No.
Nothing to do with them? No.
I want you to be quite clear about the reason for your remembering
this particular purchase. Will you tell us now what happened when the
girl came into the shop? Tell us in your own way what took place?
She came in and asked for some fly-papers. I said, " Do you want the
sticky ones?" She said, "No, the arsenic ones."
Have you any special reason for remembering this particular sale by
you to the girl you identify as Margaret Seddon? Yes.
Will you tell us what the special reason is? She asked for four packets
of fly-papers, and I had only one in stock.
Was any particular kind of fly-paper referred to? Arsenic fly-papers.
Who used those words? Margaret Seddon.
Then what did you say? I said, "Will you take a packet?" She
said, "I will take four." I said, "That is the only one I have. I
shall have some more on Monday." She took the packet and left the
Had you any more Mather's fly-papers in stock than that one packet
when the girl came in? No.
Did you make any note or entry in a book on that date? Yes.
Did you order any more Mather's fly-papers? Yes.
Further cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL Was this last packet
of fly-papers on the 26th August, 1911, a full one, or did it contain only
four papers ? It contained six.
It was a full packet? Yes.
Further re-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL Do you remember
making a statement to the police which was taken down in writing? Yes.
Had the police been to you before that, or was it the first time?
They had been before, I think.
Do you know how often before ? They called round in December, and
then while the Police Court proceedings were on.
Will you just look at your statement? Is that your signature
Evidence for Prosecution.
Mr. MARSHALL HALL I will take the date from my learned friend,
31st January, 1912.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL Yes.
(To Witness) Did you go to the Police Court twice on the day that
you gave evidence? Yes.
When did you go first? In the morning.
That was, as I understand you, not in a motor car? No.
Did you go alone or with anybody else? By myself.
When was it that you saw the twenty girls and women in a room?
In the morning.
When you were by yourself? Yes.
Was that the Police Court? Yes.
Did you then go home? Yes.
You did not remain at the Police Court? No, I was there for perhaps
an hour afterwards, and then I was told I could go home.
Then later on you did go to the Police Court again? Yes.
Was that the occasion when you went in the motor car with Mr.
Was there anybody else there? Yes, a detective sergeant.
Were you fetched in the motor car? Yes.
Did you know what for? Yes, to prove the sale of the papers.
To go to the Police Court to give evidence? Yes.
And you did go to the Police Court, and you were called that after-
noon, were you not? Yes.
2nd February. There is one other matter with regard to the girl.
Did you know this girl, whom you subsequently identified and now know aa
Margaret Seddon, at all before she came into the shop? No, sir.
By Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL Before Margaret Seddon came into your
shop on 26th August, did you know her as Margaret Seddon? No.
By the ATTORNEY-GENERAL When she came into your shop and made
this purchase on 26th August, did you recognise her as a person you had
seen before or not? I had seen her before.
By Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL That is not quite an answer. Did you
recognise her then as a person whom you had seen before? Yes.
By the ATTORNEY- GENERAL Did you know her name? No.
Or who she was? No.
ROBERT JOHN PRICE, examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL I am a phar-
maceutical chemist at 103 Tollington Park, Holloway. I went with Mr.
Thorley in a motor car on 2nd February to the Police Court.
Cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL I do not remember that I had
any conversation with Mr. Thorley as to the object of our visit to the
Dr. JOHN FREDERICK PAUL, examined by the ATTORNEY- GENERAL I am
a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and I reside at 215 Isledon
Road, Finsbury Park. I was called as a witness at the inquest on 23rd
November, 1911. I attended Miss Barrow, who lived at 63 Tollington
Park, as a patient. She came to me first in November, 1910. I think
Trial of the Seddons.
DP. John Frederick Paul
she was suffering then from congestion of the liver, but it was nothing of
any consequence. I think I only saw her once at that time. She came
to me again with Mrs. Seddon on 1st August, 1911. I judged that she
had congestion of the liver then, but it was nothing of any consequence,
nothing to prevent her going out. I gave her a mixture containing
rhubarb, bicarbonate of soda and carbonate of magnesia, which is quite
harmless. She came to me again on 3rd August, I think, with the boy
Ernie Grant, and I prescribed the same medicine, as she was suffering from
the same thing. I dispensed the medicine. She had a bottle on each
day. I think she came again on 17th August, and I gave her the same
medicine, as she was suffering from the same thing. I think she had the
boy Ernie Grant with her. I saw her again on 22nd August in my con-
sulting-room, and, as far as I remember, the boy Grant was with her.
She complained of asthma, and I prescribed bicarbonate of potash and some
By Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL She had not said anything about asthma
on the previous occasions.
Examination continued The asthma of which she was complaining
was very slight, and there was no necessity for her to keep indoors, or
anything of that kind. I saw her again in my consulting-room on 27th
August. The boy Grant was with her then. She was suffering from
asthma, and did not complain of anything else. I gave her some chloral
hydrate. There was no need for her to stay at home. I saw her again
in my consulting-room on 30th August. The boy Grant was with her that
time. She complained of asthma, and nothing else, and I gave her some
extract of grindelia. The asthma was not of any consequence then, and
there was no need for her to stay at home. I would not describe her as
a person who was ill at all under those circumstances. I cannot say that
I saw any attack of asthma. I treated her on the symptoms she told me
she had in the night. She did not complain on any of these visits in
August of diarrhoea, sickness, or pain. On 1st and 3rd August, when I
found that she had congestion of the liver, she complained of constipation.
She did not complain of any rash or of any running from the eyes. I never
saw her again after 30th August. I was called on a Saturday, I think it
was 2nd September, between half -past six and eight in the evening, by
Margaret Seddon, who wanted me to go and see Miss Barrow, but I could
not go as I was too busy.
Cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL I think you say Miss Barrow
when you first saw her was suffering from congestion of the liver? Yes.
Congestion of the liver might produce a certain amount of colic pain,
might it not? Yes.
She was a well-nourished woman, was she not, and rather inclined to
be stout than thin? Yes, she was.