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..

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Further Accurate Evidences:

A further point to note, concerning the evidence given by Thomas Detchon the chemist’s assistant. We are aware of his evidence from previous pages, latterly page 411, when he stated, “The details I wrote in the poison’s book are as follows: January 21st 1869, Mary Ann Booth, three-penny worth of arsenic and soft-soap for destroying bugs. Signed Mary Ann Booth and Elizabeth Robson (x her mark).”

We are aware during Mary Ann’s trial that Detchon had in his possession the actual poison’s book. It is inconceivable that the known signature of Mary Ann Cotton, was not compared with the signature or writing style of the signature of Mary Ann Booth, within the poison’s book. Although the signature would have been different, analysis should have been instigated. This procedure would have been possible at that time, and indeed would have further proved consequential in Mary Ann Cotton’s innocence! The fact that this procedure was not initiated is further proof of circumstantial evidences, and indeed as we also know, a person named as Elizabeth Robson came forward after Mary Ann Cotton’s committal, and stated to the authorities, that she was the witness for that exchange of arsenic, and that Mary Ann Cotton, was not the person who purchased the arsenic!

A further point, concerning the medicinal use of  Leeches. A procedure used widely where the leeches are applied to an area on the body, in the belief that bloodletting will be beneficial to the recovery of the patient.  As we know Mary Ann used this procedure as early as 1866, when she administered leeches to her 2nd husband George Ward. Doctor’s at that time, found no reason whatsoever to suspect that she was administering arsenic or other poisons to her husband. Indeed accounts from those Doctor’s, state quite clearly that the use of leeches was fully in accordance with current practices. Mary Ann used such practices right up to her arrest in 1872. The point to note is this: if Mary Ann had administered arsenic to those persons, then one would assume if those leeches sapped blood from those person’s, then surely by the natural act of arsenic, then the leeches should have perished? Not so, accounts from those dates, show no indications whatsoever, that any leeches had died unexpectedly, or that glass jars containing medicinal leeches used by Mary Ann Cotton had been analysed. It is evident that glass jars containing those leeches were often returned back to the Doctor’s surgeries, and from there reused for other patients. It is evidence that no Doctor throughout the reported uses of leeches from 1866 to 1872, ever observed or noted that the medicinal leeches had died!

            Copyright. I.S.Herdman 2000 & 2016


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