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William Palmer

Dr. William Palmer of Staffordshire, England, was a womanizer and gambler. He was tried for the death of his gambling companion John Parsons Cook, but after his arrest, it came out that that Palmer had likely committed many other murders. His mother-in-law died a suspicious death, as did several other people who had loaned money to Palmer. In 1854 his wife Annie fell ill and died, supposedly of cholera; a few months earlier, Palmer had taken out an insurance policy on her life. A maid to the family gave birth to Palmer’s illegitimate son nine months after Annie’s death; the baby died four days later. Palmer then took out a life insurance policy on his brother Walter; Walter died shortly after, but the insurance company refused to pay. By then Palmer was being blackmailed by a former lover and in grave financial difficulty. His friend Cook, who had recently won money at the track, was suddenly stricken with a terrible illness after dining with Palmer. While Palmer was tending to him as a physician, he went to London with Cook’s betting books and claimed his money. Cook died shortly thereafter. His stepfather suspected foul play and insisted on an autopsy. According to the medical experts, the cause of death was strychnine poisoning, but much to the embarrassment of the experts, no traces could be found in the body. Palmer was nevertheless found guilty and hanged, before a crowd of 30,000.


The yellow colored cover of Illustrated and unabridged edition of the Times report of the trial of William Palmer, for poisoning John Parsons Cook, at Rugeley. palmer The titlepage of Illustrated and unabridged edition of the Times report of the trial of William Palmer, for poisoning John Parsons Cook. On the bottom of the page is an engraving of The Talbot Arms, Rugeley, the scene of Cook's death.” Pages 96-97 of Illustrated and unabridged edition of the Times report of the trial of William Palmer, for poisoning John Parsons Cook featuring an engraving of scene outside the Central Criminal Court during Palmer's trial.” An engraved illustration of Drs. Taylor and Reese performing their forensic testing analysis. An engraving of the outside of Stafford Gaol. Pages 128-129 of Illustrated and unabridged edition of the Times report of the trial of William Palmer, for poisoning John Parsons Cook, featuring an illustration of the juror's sleeping apartment in the London coffee-house. The jurors are scattered around the romm in various stages of preparing for the day. Pages 160-161 of Illustrated and unabridged edition of the Times report of the trial of William Palmer, for poisoning John Parsons Cook, featuring an illustration of the courtroom view of the prisoners dock. Pages 176-177 of Illustrated and unabridged edition of the Times report of the trial of William Palmer, for poisoning John Parsons Cook. Page 176 features two engravings: the left illustration is the view from the door of William Palmer's cell in Newgate from the door, while the right illustration is is view of the gallery leading from Newgate to the Central Criminal Court. on the upper half of page 177 is an illustration of the cells below the Central Criminal Court with four guards, while the bottom half is a section of the trial transcript. Illustrated and unabridged edition of the Times report of the trial of William Palmer, for poisoning John Parsons Cook, at Rugeley. With The Official Report of the minutes of evidence. 184 pp. (London, 1856).

NLM Unique ID: 101142897
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The cover of The trial of William Palmer for the Rugeley poisonings, featuring an engraving of the head and shoulders right pose of William Palmer.The trial of William Palmer for the Rugeley poisonings. Price: One shilling. 191 pp. (London, 1856).

NLM Unique ID: 56021040R
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