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The Pimlico Poisoning

November 19, 2017

In the early hours of New Year's morning, 1886, Adelaide Blanche Bartlett roused her landlord in Pimlico, London with a few simple words: “come down, I think Mr Bartlett is dead”. She had awoken suddenly, sitting at the foot of her bed where she had dozed off earlier that night to find the feet of her husband. Thomas Edwin Bartlett, stone cold. During the following days, a postmortem was conducted and evidence found of a large quantity of Chloroform in the stomach of the deceased, however, there were no signs of how it had been ingested. There were no burns, nor were there any sores or other signs of irritation that would usually line the mouth and throat from drinking such a caustic poison.

In the words of Sir Charles Russell, the Attorney General who oversaw the inquest: “How came the Chloroform there?”

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