Frederick Henry Seddon.

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In the case of the muscles you have no absolute weight by which you
multiply your sample, have you? No.

Because it obviously would be impossible to extract from the body all
the muscle so as to compare the amount of muscle in the body with the
weight of a small portion of muscle which you had used as a sample for
analysis. It would be impossible? Yes. v

Now in the case of the muscle I find that the result of your calculation
that in the muscle was no less than 1'03 grain of arsenic? Yes.

That is to say, slightly more infinitesimally I agree, but slightly
more than half the total calculated weight of arsenic in the body? About

Now you have worked upon the assumption that the weight of the
muscle in the body is equivalent to about two-fifths of the weight of the
body. That is an accepted medical dictum, is it not? That is accepted,

But this is the relative calculated weight of muscle to body in the
living body, is it not? Yes, or in the dead body.

In the living or the dead body when dead, immediately after death,
or practically immediately after death. I will put it to you to make
myself perfectly clear, the weight of the body is made up practically of
bone, organs, blood, and muscle, is it not? 'Yes.

And the weight of all the component parts of the body is to some
extent dependent upon the weight of water in those parts? Yes.

Now, then, if you have a part of the body which in life or immediately
succeeding death has a known relative proportion to the total weight of
the body, the weight of the water in the whole body and of the portion,
including the weight of water, both in the portion and in the whole
body, will be proportionate. It must be? That is sound, is it not?

Now, in this case you have got a drying up of the whole body all
over, have you? Yes, some drying.

The ratio of the drying is quicker in the muscle than it is in the
other portions of the body? Not necessarily.

But I suggest to you that it is the muscle contains '77 of water?

According to the medical books? Yes.

Bone contains only 50 per cent., so that you see the muscle would
lose water, assuming that they are all losing at the same rate, in a
greater proportion; that is in the proportion of 77 to 50 over the loss in


Trial of the Seddons.

Dr. William Henry Willcox

the bone? I agree with you as regards bone, but not as regards other

But -what proportion to the weight of the body does the bone have?
A considerable proportion.

I would sooner take it from you than make a guess. What do you
say? I forget the exact figure.

Anyhow, it is a very considerable proportion, and then, of course,
there is the loss of water in the organs? The organs would have less,
water as a result.

The propoi'tion would not be altered in the case of the organs?

But in the case of the bone you admit there ought to have been an
allowance made? I admit there is a difference as regards the water

The bones dry very slowly, do they not? They dry slowly, yes.

And I am sure it was an oversight, I mean, I may be wrong, but in
making this calculation you have made no allowance whatever for the
loss of water? No, I have not.

Do you not think you ought to have made some allowance? Well,
the calculation of muscle must only be approximate.

Yes? I have estimated it at one grain.

That is to say, taking the whole weight of the muscle in the body
as two-fifths of the weight of the body? Yes, but I admit that must only
be approximate.

And, of course, as the water increased out of the muscle dispro-
portionately to the bone, so the multiplying factor is unduly increased?
Making that allowance for the reduced quantity.

If you make the allowance that I suggest ought to be made, the
effect of it would be to slightly reduce it? To slightly reduce the amount.

To slightly reduce the quantity given? Yes. I do not claim this
one to be strictly accurate, because it must be approximate from the
method which was used because of the multiplying factor being so great.

Whereas in the case of the skin you have appreciated the difficulty
to such an extent that you do not profess to make a quantitative experi-
ment? No.

Using it honestly, to the best of your ability, it is only an approxi-
mate calculation that you have arrived at in regard to the amount of
arsenic in the body? That is so.

And, of course, that is most important from the point of view with
regard to the mirror of the muscle, because as far as the mirror of the
muscle goes, the multiplying factor is enormous close upon 2000, and
so far as the multiple is concerned it is practically 50 per cent, of the
total calculation? Oh, yes, the total quantity in the water.

It is important from both points of view. With the mirror used
the multiplying factor is 2000. Do you think you arrive at that
quantity? Yes.

It has a most important effect, because the result of it is to bring
out 50 per cent, of the total calculated arsenic in the body? Yes, I

Evidence for Prosecution.

Dr. William Henry Willcox

Now, I want to come to another matter altogether. You are con-
vinced, Dr. Willcox, that this is a case of acute arsenical poisoning.
That is your honest opinion? I have no doubt about it.

Did you examine the hair? I notice that in the table which you
prepared you give only an examination of '4. of a gramme of what is
called proximal hair that is the hair nearest the scalp? Yes.

And the hair which grows at the extremity is called the distal end?

You did, as a matter of fact, examine the distal end of that? Yes,
I did.

In the proximal end the mirror showed one-eightieth out of *4 of
a gramme, which is approximately slightly less than you found in the
heart. You found in the heart one-sixtieth of a milligramme, and in
the proximal end of the hair you found one-eightieth of a milligramme?

What did you find in the distal end of the hair? One three-
thousandth about a quarter as much.

You took a length of hair which was about 12 inches, I think?
They varied. I should say the average would be about 10 inches.

And in order that you should have a proper examination you took
3 inches from the distal end and 3 inches from the other end. Is that
so from the proximal end? Yes.

In the proximal end you found one-eightieth of a milligramme, and
in the distal end one three-hundredth? Yes.

Was this not one of the most important subjects of investigation
in the Royal Commission, arsenic in the hair? Yes.

And especially the length of time during which the arsenic must
have been taken before you find it there. That was one of the great
subjects of the Commission, was it not? That was one of them.

In the report they prepared exhaustive tables dealing with the ques-
tion of hair only. If you look at the second volume of the report,
right at the end of page 377, you will find a very careful report prepared
of the experiments, dealing only with hair. Now, will you please check
me for a moment. Taking, as I understand you did, the quantity that
you did, I worked it out that the hair chips, we will call them, the
distal end contained one-eightieth of a grain of arsenious acid, and the
hair roots contained one-fifth of a grain of arsenious acid? Between
one-fourth and one-fifth, yes.

Do you agree that in all cases of the finding of arsenic in the body
or the presence of arsenic in the system, you have to make allowance
for the possibility of small quantities of arsenic being received from more
than one source of food and drink. I am reading from the report of
the Royal Commission? You have to bear in mind the possibility. That
possibility is very much less now than it was at the time that the report
was written, because so very much more care is taken over food stuffs.

But still these very minute quantities of arsenic are contained in
various kinds of food? There may be very minute amounts, but the
amount is one one-hundredth of a grain to a gallon, and one one-hundredth
of a grain in 1 Ib.


Trial of the Seddons.

DP. William Henry Willcox

Now, I come to this question of the hair. That was made the sub-
ject of a very careful report, and there is an appendix to this report
which sets out all the experiments on hair. " Out of a total of 41 con-
trolled cases, principally hospital and infirmary, &c." (reading down to
the words) " male patients who had been taking 3 minims of arsenic
three times a day, about one-tenth of a grain of arsenic daily, at the
nd of two months showed amounts of arsenic varying from one-twentieth
to one-fifth of a grain per 1 Ib. of hair, which had grown during the
interval." That is obviously so, is it not? The position of arsenic in
the hair would not alter after death? It would not alter after death.

The metabolic changes cease you get no alteration in the amount
of arsenic? No.

So when the arsenic goes to the hair it first goes to the piece of
hair nearest to the root as it grows? Yes.

Then as time goes on it pushes further up? I do not think we can
ay that that it is an exact limitation of the arsenic. The bulk of it
deposits in the hair at the time it is taken, but probably there is a little
may get up to the hair. The bulk of it remains.

Practically roughly speaking for practical purposes it only gets
in during the growth of the hair? It gets in during the growth.

What I am putting to you is that the presence of that quantity of
arsenic in the distal portions of this hair, according to the Schedule of
Cases that was made upon this Arsenic Commission, demonstrate that
this arsenic in the case of Miss Barrow must have been taken for a
period exceeding two or three months? No, I do not admit that.

I will give you the specific figure in a moment. " Male patients
taking smaller amounts of arsenic medicinally, &c." (reading to the
words) " which had grown before the demonstration of arsenic at the
time." That would, of course, make a difference for the purpose of
examination ? Yes.

Now, you took only 3 inches of the distal end? Yes.

If the presence of arsenic in the distal end of the hair is evidence
of a lengthy period of arsenic-taking, the period is probably longer accord-
ing to the quantity found in the distal end of the hair? Yes, that would
be so.

Now, for the purpose of ascertaining the quantity in the distal end
of the hair you will get a much more concentrated result if you take the
last 3 inches than you would if you took the last 9 inches. Do you
follow what I mean? I do not.

Because if you take 9 inches you may have arsenic in the whole of
it, whereas if you took only 3 inches it must be in the last 3 inches that
you find the arsenic. Do you follow what I mean? I think it is rather
the other way round, is it not?

For the purpose of examination, if you found it in the last 3 inches
you would probably find more in the next 6 inches the 6 inches near
the roots? Yes.

That is what I mean. So that if you are taking 9 inches, your
probable average of the 9 inches would be a higher average than it would
be for the last 3 inches? Yes.

Evidence for Prosecution.


DP. William Henry Willcox

I only wanted this for the purposes of comparison in the cases reported.
They only deal, I think it is, with 6 inches, whereas in your case you
take the 3 extreme inches? Yes.

I see on page 349 of the Commission report you find a table in the
appendix No 32, "Arsenic in the hair." You find there in the top
column the amount of arsenic in grains of arsenious oxide per 1 Ib. of
hair, and I am dealing with the cases given here. There are three here,
I see, where arsenic has been taken for more than five weeks. First of
all there is "No arsenic taken." Then, "Arsenic taken in larger or
smaller doses for five weeks or less." I am disregarding that. Now,
" Arsenic taken for more than five weeks in the whole length." You
find that in the middle? Yes, I see.

I will try and put it generally as nearly as I can. Is this the result
of it that in the five cases who took arsenic for more than five weeks
the tips were found free of arsenic in one of the three cases, and con-
tained one two-hundred-and-fiftieth of a grain per 1 Ib. in one case and 1
below one two-hundred-and-fiftieth of a grain per 1 Ib. in the other caset

So that you see even in the case of people who have taken arsenic
for more than five weeks, in three different cases you only have one two-
hundred-and-fiftieth of a grain per 1 Ib. from the distal end, and in the
other case it is not even fully that. Now, what is the rate of growth
per year of the hair about 6 inches, is it not? It would be about that.
Is there any evidence of any metabolic change in grown hair hair
when it is once grown? There is very little evidence of what I call living
change. It is disputed. You mean hair on the living body?

Yes, hair on the living body? There is probably not a great change.
Dr. Mann is a great authority on it? Yes.

He was giving his evidence on page 139, and I see his answer is,
" I suppose when the arsenic gets into the arterial structures it would
be likely to remain there," &c. That would be the case of hair, would it
not? Probably there is not much metabolic change.

I will take it at that it is so small as to be practically negligible?
It is not much.

Now, look at case No. 63, where the patient has been taking arsenic
for a longer period than five weeks. They tested the three samples of
hair in the whole length in one case, in the roots in one case, and in the
tips in one case. They found in that case, did they not, one-fiftieth of
a grain per 1 Ib.? That is in the tips.

You will find that on page 358 of that report, case 63, where it is
all set out absolutely in detail. It is a case taken from the Lambeth
Infirmary, and they give the age and the name of the deceased, and this
is what he had been taking 12 minims daily for five days, from the
23rd to the 28th of October. Then it is discontinued for ten days,
from the 28th of October to the 7th of November. Then 12 minims
daily for twenty days, from the 8th to 28th November. Then discon-
tinued forty-nine days, from the 29th November to the 16th January..


Trial of the Seddons.

Dr. William Henry Wllleox

So you see there had been a taking of arsenic for a period of nearly three
months prior? Yes.

Now, they found there one-eightieth of a grain in the roots I am
talking of the same relative weights and one-fortieth of a grain in the
tips, but the tips were of 9-inch length. From that do you not think
that the conclusion is justified that you do not and never will find arsenic
in the distal end of the hair unless the taking of the arsenic has been
spread over some considerable period? Generally, when arsenic has
been found in the tips of the hair, there has been some taken for some
period before.

Can you point to any recorded case in which arsenic has been found in
the distal tips of the hair unless arsenic has been taken for a period
exceeding ten weeks? In this report it says that arsenic is found in the
hair in people who have never had arsenic.

I am talking of the distal end of the hair right at the end? That
would certainly refer to the distal end.

I am talking of arsenic to this extent. This is one-twenty-fifth of a
grain in 1 Ib.

I refer to page 13 of the final report. That is where they are taking
no arsenic medicinally, but it did not follow that they had not been taking
arsenic from a contaminated source ? As far as was known they were taking
no arsenic.

No arsenic was being given medicinally, and in one case one-twenty-
fifth of a grain was the largest amount found per 1 Ib.? Yes.

There were three cases, one of one-hundredth of a grain, one of one-
fiftieth of a grain, and one of one-twenty-fifth of a grain per 1 Ib. ? Yes.

Was not that used as an argument, or rather as a proof that they
had been taking arsenic over a long period of time, or else they would
not have shown it in the distal end of the hair? The inference drawn
from that in the report was that, although they had not been given
medicinal doses of arsenic, they must have been having arsenic from con-
taminated beer? Not necessarily from contaminated beer. Sometimes
arsenic may be present in what is called normal hair in small amounts.

I put it to you that you cannot get what you admit there was in this
case, that it is one-eighteenth of a grain in 1 Ib. in the distal end of the
hair, unless there has been the taking of arsenic over a long period?
That does not necessarily mean that arsenic had been taken over a long
period. It is possible that some arsenic might have been taken at some
previous period.

Is the finding of the arsenic in the hair corroborative of acute arsenical
poisoning or of chronic arsenic-taking? If arsenic is found in the hair
it indicates that probably the arsenic had been taken for some period.

I am sure you will give me a fair answer. Apart from all other
symptoms, or any other question, if you only find arsenic in the hair,
you would take that as being a symptom of a prolonged course of arsenic?
Of a course of arsenic over some period.

And the minimum period would be something about three months?

I think that.

Evidence for Prosecution.

DP. William Henry Willcox

Ten weeks to three months? I think in less than that there would
be arsenic in the proximal portion of the hair.

In the proximal portion, but not in the distal portion. You would
not expect to find it in the distal end in three months, would you? Not
in large amounts.

Not in the amount you have got here one-eighteenth of a grain per
1 Ib. That is a comparatively large amount for the distal end? This
one-eighteenth of a grain in the distal end might possibly mean some
arsenic might have been taken, perhaps a year or more ago. It does
not mean that the taking of the arsenic had continued had been going
on continuously from that time.

That it meant it had been going on continuously or not continuously?

That is to say, it might have been taken and left off possibly? That
there might possibly have been some taken, say, a year ago or more
than a year ago.

A year ago or more? More than a year ago.

The presence of arsenic in the distal end of the hair is indicative
probably of the taking of arsenic more than twelve months ago?

But it does not in any way affect your opinion as to the poisonous dose
and the actual poison that you found in the other portions of the body?
Not in the least.

As the result of your information do you incline to the opinion that
it was one fatal dose or more than one dose? One fatal dose within the
last three days.

But do you think, having regard to the fact that we know this
woman had been suffering from epidemic diarrhoea for certainly eleven
days, that the administration of a large dose of arsenic in the early
part of those days would not have proved fatal? It is possible that the
svmptoms may have been due to arsenic.

Do you suggest that it was possible that there was a series of doses?
It is possible.

But do you incline to that opinion as a result of a considered con-
sideration of this case? I think it is possible that the symptoms might
have been due from arsenic throughout the illness.

You go as far as that, that this may have been a constant administra-
tion of arsenic? There might have been.

That was not the opinion you expressed before the magistrate? I
said it might have been.

Therefore the doses would have had to have been very small or they
would have proved fatal more quickly, would they not, than small doses?
If it had been taken.

If it be the result of a series of doses, the earlier doses must have
been small, because, of course, it would not be cumulative except as an
irritant, would it? It would not be cumulative.

Because of the expulsion by the faeces and by the urine? Yes.

So that a small dose of arsenic not a fatal dose or approximating


Trial of the Seddons.

Dr. William Henry Willcox

to a fatal dose would probably be expelled in one form or another either
by the sickness or the diarrhoea? Yes.

And would be non-efficient so far as the fatal result is concerned?

It would be non-efficient. Would it prepare the system for a fatal
effect from a similar dose. Do you mean that? If a dose were given or
were taken to produce symptoms of poisoning, then another dose would
have a greater effect than if the patient had not had the previous dose.

Even the elimination would not counteract that? No.

But as a cumulative poison arsenic is not known as a cumulative
poison? No.

It is not like lead and those class of poisons which are known to be
cumulative ? No.

The elimination of arsenic in the system by the natural means is
very rapid? Yes.

Taking all probabilities, which do you incline to that it was a
case of an administration of a small dose culminating in the larger dose,
or that it was the taking when I say administration I mean taking, I
am not dealing with the question of administration by another person
was it the taking of a series of small doses or the taking of one large,
fatal dose at the end? Which of the two opinions do you incline to? I
can only speak with certainty as to the taking of a large dose during the
last two days.

But under no circumstances would you if it had been administered
for ten days, if arsenic had been taken for ten days under no circum-
stances would you expect to find arsenic in the distal ends of the hair,
that being the only administration of arsenic given? I should not
expect to find it in the distal part of the hair in the ten days, but it is
possible that there might be some in the distal end, because it says
in this report that sometimes arsenic is found in the hair.

Yes, but that is the point I have been dealing with. The growth
takes place near the scalp. There is no metabolic change in the hair.
It is an obscure theory? We do not know all about the changes which
go on in the hair.

Dr. Mann is a great authority upon it? Yes, the greatest authority.

His view is that the arsenic does not move with the metabolic changes,
and you agree with me that the metabolic changes in the top of the hair
would be practically nothing? Yes. There is one point which I have
not mentioned, which I ought to mention here, which rather affects these
results, and that is that when I took the hair for analysis it was at the
second examination, and the hair had been lying in the coffin, and it
was more or less soaked in the juice of the body.

Yes, but you washed it you washed it carefully? I washed it, and
I washed off anything that was on the surface, but it is possible that
some soakage may have occurred in spite of the washing, so that the
results are a little higher than they would have been if the hair had been
taken dry. That opinion is borne out by the analysis of the hair from
the undertaker; the figure came lower.

Do you seriously suggest really that, with all the care you took,.

Evidence for Prosecution.

Dr. William Henry Willeox

there may have been some arsenic from outside which had got into that
hair before you examined it? No, I mean in the coffin.

But surely in a case of this importance, and the examinations that
have to be made, if there was any possibility that after washing any
external arsenic could have been soaked into the hair why examine it at
r j}? There was no external arsenic, only some may possibly have soaked
into the hair.

But if there was a possibility of a soakage otherwise than by natural
means, why examine it at all? Why not disregard it at once? And then
you have taken the trouble not only to examine, but you have made a
report upon it, and you have actually calculated it out according to the
ratio of weight in grains to the Ib. of hair, and you evidently attach
great importance to it. I do not think it is quite fair to put upon me
now that that examination may be stultified by the fact that some por-
tion of arsenic may have got into the hair from outside? I mentioned
that because I ought to give you the figures of the other specimen of hair.

Of course, you will give it to me. I have no other figures except
your figures to work upon. I did not know that they had been separately
examined? The other was one-twenty-first of a grain to 1 Ib. That was
mixed hair.

That is hair that was taken, of course, just after death? Yes.

Assuming that this lady had taken arsenic medicinally, would that
make the effect of gastro enteritis more serious to her or not? It depends
upon the amount which had been taken. If it had been taken medicin-
ally as a tonic it probably would not have any effect upon the gastro

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