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..

At that time (1871) living along the Terrace (West Auckland Durham) from Mary Ann Cotton was a man called Joseph Nattrass lodging with the Shaw family George and his Irish wife Bridget. George a sixty-six year old man was a strong character compared to his younger wife aged 48, although a great difference in age the pair had a good bond and were raising three young daughters aged 12, 11 and 9. It had got to the stage were Nattrass had to move on, as the Shaw household required more space. George Shaw told Nattrass that several doors down Mary Ann Cotton was taking in “lodgers” and should he have the mind to enquire then he was sure of a comfortable bed.

It is quite clear through the documented evidences, that Joseph Nattrass (himself now a widower) was nothing more than a chance meeting and lodger to Mary Ann Cotton in 1871. Consequently they did become lovers, at a time when Mary Ann Cotton was a widow, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that she had knowledge of Nattrass at any time before his lodging! To further my comments, I located Joseph Nattrass and his marriage in 1860 and it is very clear that he and his wife where living many miles away from Mary Ann Cotton, thus proving that no connection between the pair existed until 11 years later in 1871.

Professor Wilson States that “James Robinson had a child to his first wife Hannah, and that when Mary Ann Cotton moved in to the Robinson home (as a housekeeper) the child John Robinson was dead within days.

The Accurate Facts are: Hannah Robinson the wife of James Robinson had died 22 days prior to the death of John, her death was well before MAC became the housekeeper, and her death is fully researched and recorded as being from “Tuberculosis.” However 22 days later John Robinson b+d 1866, his death was caused by “infantile convulsions.”  However we again have unsubstantiated comments, that this child was poisoned by MAC with arsenic, it is totally unfounded as the child was very ill before MAC became housekeeper. Mary Ann Cotton became housekeeper on the 20th of December 1866 and the child John Robinson died and was buried 3 days later on the 23rd of December 1866. Again several authors attribute this child's death to Mary Ann Cotton, when through my research I have proved this not to be the case.

Professor Wilson States “Joseph Nattrass her lover changed his will in her favour, and died shortly after, being poisoned by Mary Ann Cotton.” That is inaccurate as recorded documentation states “Nattrass had let it be known that Mary Ann was as close to being his wife, and that should his life be “ebbed away” then Mary Ann was to have his possessions.  

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