Friday, October 21, 2016

The Watford Poisoning Case

Watford Poisoning Case. 
 The Servant Confesses that She Put Belladonna in the Rice Pudding. 
The medical practitioners who were called by the police to attend to Mr. Henry Crawley, a Watford tradesman, and his family, who were poisoned on Friday last whilst having dinner, have decided that the poison used was belladonna. 
From inquiries made, it appears that this poison had been placed in a rice padding which had been prepared for dinner that day Mrs. Crawley. Just before it was placed on the table one of the children tasted it, and called the attention his mother to an extreme bitterness in the custard. Thinking that bitterness was due to absence of sugar, Mrs. Crawley went into the shop, to get some, and subsequently mixed it in the pudding. The family, all partook of the pudding, and were soon afterwards seized with violent pains, and showed symptoms of poisoning. Owing to the exertions of the doctors the family were soon oat of danger, but are still very weak. 
On Sunday the servant girl confessed to having put some belladonna, which was used by Mr. Crawley for his eyes, into the rice pudding. She was arrested at once and taken the Watford Police Station.
The bottle of belladonna was kept on a high shelf in Mr. Crawley’s bedroom. Only he and Mrs. Crawley and the servant knew where it was. The doctor had warned his patient as to the dangerous nature of the contents, and it is said that the servant was present at the time. After Friday’s dinner Mr. Crawley noticed that the contents of the bottle were materially reduced. 
The servant, whose name Leonora Ann Melinda Florence Robinson, and who is only fifteen, was charged at Watford Court on Monday. Formal evidence of ### having been given, accused was remanded.

Whenever the British Newspaper Archive announces that it has digitized an unusual newspaper I dive in to see what Hertfordshire news it contains. The above story comes from the Illustrated Police Budget of 18th February, 1899.

The 1899 Kelly's directory lists a Henry Crawley, furniture dealer, of 139 Queen Street, Watford.

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