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..

(b)    Wednesday the 10th of July 1872 Dr. Chalmers prescribes, Bismuth bi-carbonate of Potass and Prussic acid.

(c)    Thursday afternoon 11th of July 1872 Dr. Kilburn prescribes, Effervescence of Ammonia.

(d)  Thursday evening 11th of July 1872 Dr. Kilburn prescribes, Bismuth and Hydrocyanic acid and four doses of Morphia. 12 doses of Bismuth and Hydrocyanic acid in a bottle. The mixture to be taken every two hours.

On investigation and research the chemical classification for “prussic acid” Hydrocyanic acid is: a highly poisonous volatile liquid with a characteristic odour of bitter almonds. Chemical formula HCN also called “prussic acid.” Bismuth: a brittle reddish-white metallic element used in alloys.

The amounts prescribed for the child as we can see are considerable, given that the child consumed such amounts in five days. “Prussic acid” is as we can see a most poisonous compound, the Doctors stated that in their view the amounts prescribed were not dangerous. I beg to differ, both Doctors treated the child independently and were quite unaware as to what the other had prescribed, they only became aware of each other’s prescriptions after the child had died. Bismuth is of a reddish-white metallic element. I bring you the reader back to Dr. Thomas Scattergood’s findings during his analysis. He said that the stomach and bowels were inflamed and had a reddish appearance to the coatings. Now let us examine the bismuth itself, it is a reddish-white metallic element, coincidentally the same colouring as the inflamed organs which Scattergood describes! Was Scattergood wrong in his analysis, he made no mention of “prussic acid” in his report, but did mention bismuth only in the context of it being administered as medication by the two Doctors. If Mary Ann Cotton had been given access to an independent forensic analyst then I am quite sure that Scattergood’s evidence would have been thoroughly examined and tested, and would in my opinion be subjected to searching questions and quite rightly in places rebuked. We must also add to this equation the disappearance of medication bottles from Mary Ann Cotton’s house during the police search of 1872. For as we know from Police evidences, Dr. Kilburn was observed by a policeman to remove those medication bottles from her house. Kilburn stated in his evidences to the Court, that he never removed those items, however, no medicinal bottles were ever analysed or had been retained as evidences of treatments administered, as to where these bottles disappeared to is a mystery.

Newspaper Page 12