had been under your observation from the 2nd to the 13th September
Evidence for Prosecution.
Dp. Henry George Sworn
when you left her on the morning of the 13th September? My expecta-
tion was that she might recover that she was in about the same con-
dition, but I was not surprised that she died the next day from heart
Do you think she was in a critical condition? I thought she was in
a critical condition all along.
I must ask you this. You have told us you. thought she was in a
little danger, but not critical? Yes.
Was that correct? Yes.
On the 13th September? She was in danger all along, that is what
I told you. She might have died from heart failure days before.
But is this correct what you swore in answer to my friend this
morning? This is on the 13th, " I thought she was in a little danger,
but not critical"? Yes, she was in a little danger, and she was not
critical. It depends upon what you call critical.
I am asking what you say? I say she was in a little danger, but not
One last question upon this. I only want to know, as a medical man
if you found her in a little danger, and that her condition was not critical,
would you expect her to die within twenty-four hours? How should I
expect her to die? I know that she is likely to die. I cannot expect
her to die unless I can say exactly how long the case is going to last. Her
case was not a hopeless case. You are asking me questions that are
impossible to answer in that way.
I am only asking you to give us what your view is? I am giving my
view that she was not in a critical condition she might have died five
minutes after I left her, she might have been alive now. I cannot say
any more than that.
Have you any part of the carbonate of bismuth left which you had
Have you any carbonate of bismuth in stock? Plenty.
Can you tell us when the stock was exhausted from which you gave
her the medicine in -September? I cannot. I have nothing to do with my
medicines. They are ordered by my partner, and they are arranged by the
dispenser. I never see the medicines.
Then you cannot help us? I cannot tell you, but I know the stock
must be out by this time that was being used then.
By Mr. MARSHALL HALL Is liability to heart failure a well-known
danger of epidemic diarrhoea? Yes.
And therefore the liability is greater the longer the epidemic diarrhoea
has gone on? Certainly.
And the longer it has gone on the less the probability of the patient
resisting the attack if it comes on? Yes.
By Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL Does vomiting generally attend epidemic
diarrhoea? It does. Epidemic diarrhoea used to be called English
cholera years ago, and one of the most frequent symptoms is persistent
Anjd you saw some of the vomit, did you? Yes. It was a brownish
mucus a yellowish mucus.
Trial of the Seddons.
Dr. John Frederick Paul
Dr. JOHN FREDERICK PAUL, recalled, further examined by the ATTORNET-
GENERAL There was no arsenic whatever in any of the medicines I gave
to Miss Barrow.
ALFRED KING, examined by Mr. MUIR I am superintendent and registrar
of the Metropolitan Borough of Islington Cemetery. Eliza Mary Barrow,
aged 49, was buried at that cemetery on 16th September, 1911. I produce
certificate of her death. Her address was given as 63 Tollington Park,
and the date of death 14th September, 1911. She was buried in grave-
No. 19,453, section Q that is what we call a common grave. I produce
the order for exhumation of the body signed and sealed by the coroner,
Dr. George Cohen, and dated llth November, 1911, exhibit 138. The
body was exhumed on 14th November, 1911, and it was re-buried in
another grave by order of the coroner on 22nd December, 1911.
WILLIAM ALEXANDER FRASER, examined by Mr. R. D. MUIR I am the
coroner's officer for Hornsey and Friern Barnet. I was present at the
Coroner's Court at the inquest on the body of Eliza Mary Barrow. That
Court was opened on 23rd November, and concluded on 14th December.
I saw the coroner taking the depositions of the witnesses, including the
two prisoners. I saw the prisoners sign their depositions taken on 23rd
November. These depositions are as follows. (Depositions read.)
Chief Inspector ALFRED WARD, recalled, further examined by Mr.
R. D. MUIR I was present at the Police Court when Dr. Cohen gave
evidence, first on 9th January, and afterwards on 26th January. On
9th January the male prisoner only was in custody ; on 26th January
both prisoners were in custody, and both had an opportunity of cross-
examining the coroner. I saw the coroner sign his depositions.
Examination continued About 7 p.m. on 4th December I saw the
male prisoner out of doors at Tollington Park. I told him I was a police
officer, and was to arrest him for the wilful murder of Eliza Mary Barrow
by administering poison arsenic. He said, " Absurd. What a terrible
charge wilful murder. It is the first of our family that has ever been
accused of such a crime. Are you going to arrest my wife as well? If
not, I would like you to give her a message for me. Have they found
arsenic in her body 1 She has not done this herself ? It was not carbolic
acid, was it, as there was some in her room, and Sanitas is not poison,
is it?" He repeated the word " Murder " several times on the way to
the station. When at the station at Hornsey Road he was charged, and
when the charge was read over he made no reply. I searched the nouse
at 63 Tollington Park the same day, and in a trunk in the top bedroom
that had been occupied by the dead woman I found the cash box, exhibit
2. The trunk was locked. I got the keys from a safe in the prisoner's
bedroom. The female prisoner was present, and she told me that it was
the late Miss Barrow's trunk and her belongings. I found the pass-book,
exhibit 17, and also a paper bag, exhibit 20, which has " 20 gold "
written in ink on the front, and " Gold 19 " in indelible pencil on the
back. I should say that the pencil handwriting is the male prisoner's.
Evidence for Prosecution.
There were nineteen sovereigns in the bag. I found it in the safe in
the prisoner's bedroom, which is on the first floor. I have the sovereigns
in my custody, and can send for them if they are required. In the same
safe I found a ring, exhibit 21; exhibit 22, a gold chain; and exhibit
23, another gold chain and pendant. Mrs. Seddon was present. The chain
was attached to it as it is now. I asked Mrs. Seddon whose watch it was,
and she said, " It is mine." I asked her where she got it, and she said,
" It was a present to me." I said, " Is it not Miss Barrow's? " and she
said, " Yes." In the safe in the office in the basement I found a Post
Office Savings Bank book, exhibit 37, made out in the name of Mr. F. H.
Seddon, 63 Tollington Park. Under date 15th September, 1911, I find
an entry of 30 deposit paid in. I also found in the office safe the
bank pass-book, exhibit 34. In the secretaire in the front room on the
ground floor I found a copy of the will, exhibit 38. In the safe in the
front bedroom I found an envelope containing some documents, of which
exhibit 39 is one. The first entry on that document is " 10 cash found
at Miss Barrow's death," then " Statement of how utilised,"* and it is
signed " F. H. Seddon." The handwriting is all that of the male
prisoner. In the same envelope I found a conveyance of a grave at
Highgate Cemetery to Eliza Jane Barrow, exhibit 40, dated 9th February,
1874, and attached to that a slip of paper with the words, " Last interment,
16th December, 1876. Eliza Jane Barrow." In the same envelope there
was a certificate of Miss Barrow's death, exhibit 41, and a copy of a letter
dated 21st September, " To the relatives of the late Miss Eliza Mary
Barrow," exhibit 42, being the same as exhibit 3. There were other
documents in the same envelope, which included Miss Barrow's rent book
and the lease of the Buck's Head. I also found an envelope containing
some hair. It had writing on it when I found it the male prisoner's
handwriting, I should think " Miss Barrow's hair, for Hilda and Ernest
Grant," and then on the back, " Eliza Mary Barrow, died 14th September,
1911." I handed that envelope to Sergeant Cooper. I afterwards saw
Dr. Wilcox produce it when he was giving evidence. I saw the female
prisoner at 5 p.m. on 15th January at 63 Tollington Park. I asked her
if she knew me, and she said " Yes." I then told her that I was going
to arrest her for being concerned in the wilful murder of Miss Barrow
by administering poison, and she said, " Very well." I took her to
the police station, and she was then charged, but made no reply whatever.
(Shown exhibit 121) That is a gold ring which I found in the safe in
the bedroom on the first floor on 4th December. (Shown exhibit 123)
That is a neck chain with a pendant which was found in the secretaire
in the dining-room on the first floor. I have examined the inventory of
Miss Barrow's effects, exhibit 32. Neither the chain and the pendant nor
the chain attached to the watch was included in that inventory.
None of these things are in the inventory? None of these articles
are shown in the inventory. On 1st February I caused notice to be
served upon Mr. Thorley to attend at the Police Court, and he attended
next day at ten o'clock in the morning. I saw him myself.
Now, just tell us what happened with regard to the identification of
* See Appendix G.
Trial of the Seddons.
Maggie Seddon? Maggie Seddon, with a large number of males and
females, was sent into the waiting room, and upon the arrival of Mr.
Thorley he was asked to go into the room to see if he could identify any
one there, as the person who purchased from him certain fly-papers on
26th August last. He entered the room alone, walked round the room,
came out, and pointed Maggie Seddon out to me as the girl who had
purchased from him on that particular day.
Cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL You have said that you had
accused Seddon of causing the wilful murder of Miss Barrow by adminis-
tering arsenic? Certainly, sir.
Then he asked a question, ' ' Have you found arsenic in the body ' ' ?
Then was the next thing a question, " She has not done it herself,"
negatively or not? No, he said them all one after another. I asked
him no question. I did not speak to him until I got to the station.
Now, Mr. Thorley has told us that the police had been to him several
times in December and January about this matter? Yes.
I understand he went down on 2nd February in the morning, went
into a room where there were about twenty people? There were more
And he then came out, and told you that he had identified a certain
girl? He pointed Maggie Seddon out to me.
After he had come out? No, he came to the door and pointed the
girl out. He said, " This is the girl who purchased the fly-papers from
You have been in Court you have heard Mr. Thorley's evidence that
there was one other girl there with her hair down her back? There were
several more when I say several I will say two or three.
You know Miss Barrow's handwriting, do you not, by this time? I
only know what I have been told.
You have seen several specimens of her handwriting. There are
certain things which are admitted to be in her handwriting letters written
to the solicitors and that sort of thing? Yes.
Are these signatures, so far as you can say, the signatures of Miss
Barrow? (Documents handed to witness) Yes, they are similar, of course.
You cannot say more? I do not know that any one has seen her sign.
Let me have them back I will get them probably from some one.
My lord, I understand from the Attorney-General that there is no dispute
that there was, in fact, a payment in respect of both of these transfers,
the transfer of the Buck's Head and the transfer of the Stock?
Mr. JUSTICE BUCK>ILL At the present time the evidence is that every-
thing is in order, and the learned Attorney-General very candidly says, " I
am not charging in this case a fraudulent transaction from a commercial
point of view."
By Mr. MARSHALL HALL Have you seen the rent book? Yes.
I see that from 25th July to 26th December apparently there appears
to be a payment of 12s. a week for rent? Yes.
After that date all the entries of each week are entered up as clear?
That is to say, no payment? Yes.
Evidence for Prosecution.
Did you find that book at Tollington Park ? Yes, amongst the effects.
That is the document you handed me that is the Post Office book 1
The Court adjourned.
Fourth Day Thursday, 7th March, 1912.
The Court met at 10.15 a.m.
CHARLES COOPER, examined by Mr. MTJIR I am a detective-sergeant
in New Scotland Yard. I was present at the male prisoner's arrest. On
llth December I took an envelope, exhibit 135, containing some hair which
I had received from Chief Inspector Ward to Dr. Willoox. On 30th
December I went to 63 Tollington Park and took away the till, which is
exhibit 28, from the place which is marked on the plan, exhibit 27.
Cross-examined Mr. MARSHALL HAUL At the station the male prisoner
said, " My wife will be in a terrible state," or something of that sort, and
he asked me to get Mrs. Bromwich to assist her.
WILLIAM HATMAN, examined by Mr. MUIR I am a detective-sergeant
in New Scotland Yard. I assisted in the arrest of the male prisoner. I
stopped him in Tollington Park, and said to him, " Mr. Seddon, Chief
Inspector Ward wants to see you." He said, " May I go home first? "
but I did not answer him. Mr. Ward came up almost immediately, and
I heard what was said between him and the prisoner.
Cross-examined by Mr. MARSHALL HALL He said " Murder " several
times, and then " Poisoning by arsenic what a charge." Mr. Ward
spoke to him the moment he came up.
Re-examined by Mr. MUIR On 8th December I purchased one packet
containing six fly-papers from Mr. Price, chemist, 103 Tollington Road,
and on 1 1th December I handed these over to Dr. Willcox at St. Mary's
Hospital. I purchased a packet of fly-papers on 29th February from
Messrs. Spinks, chemists, 27 Tottenham Court Road, and also from Dodds'
Drug Stores, 70 Tottenham Court Road, and from Needhams, Limited,
chemists, 297 Edgware Road. I took these packets to Dr. Willcox at St.
Mary's Hospital. Last night I got from Dr. Sworn's surgery two ounces
of bismuth carbonate, which I handed over to Dr. Willcox. I also got
two ounces from Messrs. Willows, Francis, Butler <fe Thompson, druggists,
40 Aldersgate Street, which I handed over to Dr. Willcox. I was informed
that these were the persons who supplied Dr. Sworn with his drugs.
By Mr. MARSHALL HALL It was on 8th December that I first bought
some fly-papers. The male prisoner was arrested on 4th December.
Dr. BERNARD HENRY SPILSBURT, examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery, and I am a
pathologist at St. Mary's Hospital. In November of last year I made a
post-mortem examination of the body of a woman who was identified as
Trial of the Seddons.
Dr. Bernard Henry Spilsbury
Eliza Mary Barrow. I was present when the body was identified by
Albert Edward Vonderahe and Frank Ernest Vonderahe.
Mr. MARSHALL HALL There is no suggestion here that the body is not
the body, and there is no suggestion here that any arsenic came from any
clothing, so all these details may be disposed of.
Examination continued With the exception of the stomach and
intestines, I found no disease in any of the organs sufficient to account for
death. The stomach was a little dilated, and a black substance was
present on its inner surface. In the upper part of the small intestine
the inner surface was red. The body was very well preserved, internally
and externally, apart from some post-mortem staining externally. Taking
into account that the death took place in September, 1911, the state of
preservation in which I found the body was very abnormal. I was not
able to account for it at the time the post-mortem examination was made,
but since the analysis which has been made by Dr. Willcox I think the
preservation was due to the presence of arsenic in the body. I include
the stomach with the rest of the body, and also the skin, bones, and the
hair. On an external examination I found no evidence of shingles or
pigmentation of the skin, but the skin had a green colour, which I thought
was due to post-mortem discolouration. The skin of the face was brown
and shrivelled. By "pigmentation " of the skin I mean that the skin is
of an unusual colour, generally either brown or black, and that would be
the result sometimes of chronic arsenical poisoning. There was no
thickening of the skin on the palms of the hands or on the soles of the
feet. There was no thickening in the nails of the fingers or of the toes,
nor was there any other change in the nails of the fingers or the toes.
There was nothing abnormal about the appearance of the hair. I was
present during some of the tests made by Dr. Willcox for arsenic. From
what I saw of the results of these tests my opinion is that the death was
the result of acute arsenical poisoning poisoning by one or more large
doses of arsenic, as distinguished from poisoning by small doses of arsenic
over a long period of time. By a " large dose " I mean a poisonous dose,
which would certainly be two grains, and less than that would give rise to
symptoms of poisoning. Two grains in one dose might be sufficient to
kill an adult person. I think that two or three doses of two grains or
upwards within a short period of time would be sufficient to kill an adult
Cross-examined by Mr. DUNSTAN In making my post-mortem ex-
amination I found that the height of the body was 5 feet 4 inches. The
body was well nourished. The average weight for a person aged forty-
nine of a height of 5 feet 4 inches would be somewhere between 8 and
10J stones, and if she was a well-nourished and plump woman she might
be well over the average weight. On examining the internal organs I
found no evidence of disease at all, except in the stomach and intestines.
I found a slight reddening of the lining of the bowel. We could not see
the mucous membrane of the stomach as it was covered with the black
substance I have already mentioned. The first part of the small intestine,
the duodenum, was reddened throughout, and the next part, the jejunum,
was slightly reddened. Beyond that the inner surface showed no
Evidence for Prosecution.
DP. Bernard Henry Spilsbury
Apart from that reddening, there was no sign of any disease at all?
None at all.
And death might have been due to syncope or heart failure? Cer-
tainly, apart from the reddening, so far as I could see.
The reddening would be equally consistent with death from epidemic
diarrhoea of ordinary duration? Yes, it would.
Would it be consistent with death from epidemic diarrhoea extending
over some ten or twelve days ? Yes, it would.
The absence of any disease in the other organs would be equally con-
sistent with death from epidemic diarrhoea? Certainly.
Apart from Dr. Willcox 's report there is nothing inconsistent with Dr.
Sworn's death certificate in this case from what you saw at the post-mortem?
That is so, with the one exception of the condition of the preservation
of the body.
The preservation of the body varies greatly? Oh, yes.
I believe it is a fact that amongst the Styrian peasants arsenic is
taken considerably? Yes.
You know that as a scientific fact? Yes.
And those arsenic eaters die of other diseases than arsenical poisoning 1
That is so.
The preservation of the bodies of Styrians is well marked also? Yes,
I have heard that.
You have told us that there was no sign of any skin rash ? Yes.
You would have expected some skin rash had arsenic been given from
1st September? Not necessarily.
By Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL Where would you find the rash? The rash
might appear over any part of the body.
Suppose this woman took small doses of arsenic, for example I am
not suggesting it is the fact from the 2nd September to the llth, where
would you expect to find the rash? She might have the rash over the
upper part of the body, and she might have the rash over the limbs; it
might appear almost anywhere.
By Mr. DUNSTAN Would it tend to disappear between the date of the
death and your examination? Yes.
Would the eyes become affected soon with the administration of
arsenic in fairly large doses? No, I think not not in fairly large doses.
Would you give your opinion as to how soon the eyes would be affected
with a largish dose? I think probably not at all.
I think Dr. Willcox defined this dose as " a moderately large fatal
Dr. Willcox defined it as five grains and upwards? Yes.
It would be a large dose? It would be a moderately large dose a
moderately large fatal dose.
At what time would a dose of that class prove fatal? It would not
be likely to prove fatal a single dose, of course in less than three days
probably, and it might be longer.
By Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL Now, would you give us a little history of
what you would expect to take place in three days. First of all, what
would happen on the first one, and then on the second one, and then on
the third day, and the day of the death. What would you expect to find
Trial of the Seddons.
Dr. Bernard Henry Spllsbury
with such a dose on the third day? The patient would develop symptoms
probably between an hour or two hours.
That would be the first day? That would be the first day.
Go on, please? The symptoms would be nausea, followed by vomiting
and a pain in the stomach.
Go on, please. Give us from the first day to the third? In a few
hours afterwards diarrhoea would develop. This would continue in a
severe form almost up to the time of the death, and the patient would
become collapsed, and would develop great thirst.
On the first day there would be symptoms in an hour or two? Yes.
Nausea would then come, followed by vomiting, followed by pain in
the stomach? Together with pain in the stomach; the two would come
at the same time.
A few hours afterwards diarrhoea would develop. This would continue
in a severe form almost up to the time of death, and the patient would
become collapsed, and would develop a great thirst? Yes.
And then? And then death would ensue.
" On the third day I should expect death might ensue " ? It might
ensue on the third day.
By Mr. DUNSTAN I believe epidemic diarrhoea is very prevalent in
the summer? Yes, that is so.
By Mr. JUSTICE BUCKNILL And sometimes it is very painful?
Frequently ? Yes.
And ignorant people call it " English cholera " ? Yes.
By Mr. DUNSTAN In fact, it was prevalent last summer? That
And the symptoms would be those described by Dr. Sworn? Yes,
And the final cause of death would be heart failure? Yes.
Re-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL And those would also l)e the
symptoms of acute arsenical poisoning? That is so.
And in the result would death ensue from heart failure? Yes, it
Just the same for acute arsenical poisoning as it would for epidemic
diarrhosa ? Yes.
Are the symptoms which we have heard described by Dr. Sworn the
vomiting, the pain in the stomach, and diarrhoea, and so forth all con-
sistent with a case of arsenical poisoning from what you describe as " large
And, assuming a doctor to be called in who neither knew nor suspected
arsenical poisoning, how would he diagnose the illness? In all probability
as a case of epidemic diarrhoea.
In a case of acute arsenical poisoning, would there be any external
indication that arsenic had been administered in fairly large doses? No,
I think none at all.
Supposing that you suspected arsenical poisoning in a case to which
you were called in, with the symptoms which you have described, how
would you then ascertain whether or not a large dose, or a fairly large
Evidence for Prosecution.
Dr. Bernard Henry Spilsbury
dose, of arsenic had been given? Do you mean ascertain during life or
I mean during life, what could you ascertain? Only by an analysis
of what was vomited or of the other excreta.
Then you would have to analyse some excreta in order to detect the
arsenic? Yes, that is so.
You were asked by my friend, Mr. Dunstan, whether the eyes became
affected soon. When would you expect, and under what circumstances
would you expect, the eyes to become affected by arsenical poisoning? I
should only expect them to be affected when the patient had been taking
arsenic for some little time a matter of weeks several weeks or months.