MARY ANN COTTON. 1832-1873.
                Mary Ann Cotton.. The Evidence.. Execution.. Hartlepool History Team.. Illustrations. Newspaper & Public Comments.. Mary Ann Cotton.. The Evidence.. Execution.. Hartlepool History Team.. Illustrations. Newspaper & Public Comments..
This evidence was vital to the prosecution case, it is therefore totally unacceptable in today’s modernity for such specimens to have been produced or accepted into evidence.The deceased child, Charles Edward Cotton had also, according to the prosecution and witness statements been severely beaten 4 days previous his death from arsenic poisoning, so much so that Mary Ann Cotton used her hands, feet and knees to beat him about the body. However immediately after his death a routine autopsy took place on the wooden kitchen table in Mary Ann Cotton’s house. The findings of Dr. Kilburn and his assistant at that time were of no suspicious circumstances, at no time did he or the attending doctor see any bruising, marks or cuts to the child’s skin or body, consequently they recorded his death as being “not suspicious.” However during the 1873 trial at Durham Assizes, the prosecution entered evidence to the effect, that Mary Ann Cotton had beaten her child in a most savage and dreadful manner 4 days prior to his death. That evidence was accepted and used against her, despite the facts that no bruising or cuts or swellings to the child’s body had ever been observed or recorded at the post-mortem.

I seek in my manuscript to examine the recorded documents and statements made, and I have amassed a great deal of official documents and evidence. The above article is brief, but an insight into her life and trial. On examination further details would in my opinion be crucial to her presumed guilt. In today's modernity it would certainly be an issue of law. In the accordance with law it would in my opinion be questionable as to her guilty verdict. Without doubt the evidence I have, if produced in today’s modernity would cause a sensational trial and media scrum. As to my independent thoughts as her biographer, evidence is vital and a committal to a guilty verdict is reached on that available evidence. In Mary Ann Cotton’s case the available evidence was lacking to say the least, she had no forensic expert to rebuke the prosecutions comments, witness statements in her defence were lodged, but were not acceptable. Petitioners from notable members of society were brushed aside by the Home Secretary and the fact that she had given birth to a child in prison only weeks earlier bore no leniency whatsoever. That child was adopted and taken from Mary Ann Cotton 5 days before her execution. The brief details I have supplied above give you the reader the ability to decide her fate, on the grounds of probability as to the wilful murder of her step-son, does that brief evidence stated above prove her guilty or innocence, you decide?

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“The Evidence.”
Mary Ann Cotton.