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THE SUPPOSED POISONING CASE…

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THE SUPPOSED POISONING CASE IN DERBYSHIRE. An adjourned inquest on the bodies of the two children, named Joseph and Martha Tomlinson, was held at Alfreton, near Chesterfield, on Tuesday. The inquiry first arose from the girl having died from symptoms of arsenical poisoning, but the coroner deeming the case one for proper investigation, ordered the body of the other child to be exhumed, and the stomachs and viscera of each to be sent to Professor Taylor for analysis. Meanwhile the services of a detective were enlisted, and as the result of his inquiries, the servant girl, Elizabeth Wheeldon, was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the death of the children. It will be remembered that the father, at the previous inquiries, stated that he kept arsenic in the house, but out of the reach of the children. The servant girl had access to it, and was in the habit of v laying it down for the purpose of killing rats, &c., and also putting it upon rows of peas and beans in the garden. On Tuesday the inquiry was first directed to the death of Joseph Tomlinson, who had died on the 9th of April, aged one month. The father, who is a respectable farmer, was the first witness, and described the death of his son, under the symptoms of a convulsive fit with great sickness. In answer to Professor Taylor, the witness stated that the symptoms described bad not been manifested before. He stated that the suspicions of himself and his wife had been aroused by the circum- stances of the death of the child, as it had been taken ill very shortly after the servant girl had fed it. The witness said that the poison they had in the house was laid down twice in the barn before the baby was born, and once afterwards he laid some down. No one could get to it, as the children were away except the baby, which was upstairs with his mother. On one occasion five fowls got to some that was laid down in the pan and died, and a dog died after- wards. Subsequently he bought some other rat poison of a man named Davis, of Derby, which was kept in the same place. The whole o.f that was laid down and de- voured by the rats. The witness also spoke to the servant girl having been much out of temper the two days preceding the death of the child, because she had been found fault with by her mistress for staying out too late. He had himself spoken to the girl about her immoral conduct, and her speaking on improper sub- jects to his young children. That was subsequent to the death of the first child. In consequence of that he decided to part with her, and informed her father, who expressed a wish that witness would send her to Derby prison. The Coroner then read the evidence given at the last sitting as to the death of the second child, Martha Tomlinson. It was shortly stated that the deceased was taken ill, and died in less than two days, with all the symptoms of arsenical poisoning-great sickness, convulsions, &c. The witness added to his previous depositions in this case that the vomit which the child Martha threw up was thrown into the farmyard,, and two hens died next day. Mrs. Ann Tomlinson, the mother of the deceased children, also deposed to the circumstances of their death. Dr. Tay- lor, F.R.S., gave evidence that the deceased child's (Joseph's) stomach was delivered to him, and on analysis he found four grains of arsenic in the stomach, which showed that the child had died from arsenic adminis- tered in comparatively large quantities. There was no natural cause to account for death, the child being generally healthy. The arsenic was found in lungs, thymus gland, and generally throughout the body. The quantity of arsenic found in the stomach alone was sufficient to cause the death of two adults. In the case of the second child, the witness re- ported that he had found dark patches on the stomach, and found, them to contain arsenic. On further testing the stomach particles of arsenic and fluid mercury were found. The arsenic was also found largely in the intes- tines, and also mercury. The testing of the ratcatcher's powder showed the presence of" veratria." The con- clusion arrived at was that there was no natural cause for death, but that the deceased Martha died from arsenic. The mercury was stated to be due to the calomel powder given deceased by Mr. Turner's direction. In the course of his evidence Dr. Taylor remarked that he had never met two clearer cases of poisoning by arsenic. The in- quiry was then adjourned. "'i'liØj¡Ii.('W:UI,'iI'1fIØt':

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