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PRITCHARD, Edward William.
Report of the Trial of Dr. Pritchard for Murder.

Trial at the High Court of Justiciary, Edinburgh, before the Lord Justice-Clerk, Lord Ardmillan, and Lord Jerviswoode, on 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th July 1865.

Extracted from : Edinburgh Medical Journal. Vol. XI. - Part !. July to December 1865. pp. 163-200. New cloth, a very good copy.

*EDWARD WILLIAM PRITCHARD (6 December 1825 28 July 1865) was an English doctor who was convicted of murdering his wife and mother-in-law by poisoning them with antimony. He was also suspected of murdering a servant girl, but was never tried for this crime. He was the last person to be publicly executed in Glasgow. Pritchard was born in Southsea, Hampshire, into a naval family. His father was John White Pritchard, a captain. He claimed to have studied at King's College Hospital in London and to have graduated from there in 1846. He then served in the Royal Navy as an assistant surgeon on HMS Victory. For another four years, he served on various other ships sailing around the world. He returned to Portsmouth, England, on HMS Hecate. While in Portsmouth, he met his future wife, Mary Jane Taylor, the daughter of a prosperous retired silk merchant from Edinburgh. The couple married in 1851 and had five children. He resigned from the Navy and first took a job as a general practitioner in Yorkshire, living for a time in Hunmanby. He was the author of several books on his travels and on the water cure at Hunmanby, as well as articles in The Lancet. In 1859, he left under a cloud and in debt, and moved to Glasgow. On 5 May 1863, there was a fire in the Pritchards' house at 11 Berkeley Terrace, Glasgow, which killed a servant girl. Her name was Elizabeth McGrain, aged 25. The fire started in her room but she made no attempt to escape, suggesting that she may have been unconscious, drugged, or already dead. The procurator fiscal looked into the case, but no charges were brought. In 1865, Pritchard poisoned his mother-in-law, Jane Taylor, 70, who died on 28 February. His wife, whom he was treating for an illness (with the help of a Dr. Paterson), died a month later on 18 March at the age of 38. Both had been living at Pritchard's new family home at 131 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Both his wife and mother-in-law are buried in the grave purchased by his father-in-law, Michael Taylor, in Grange Cemetery in south Edinburgh. Dr. Paterson was highly suspicious of the "illnesses" of both women and, when the time came, refused to sign the death certificates. However, he did not go out of his way to inform the medical or legal authorities of his suspicions. A 'Vindication' of Dr Paterson was circulated at the time and he took other steps to clear his name. Pritchard was apprehended after an anonymous letter was sent to the authorities. When the bodies of his wife and mother-in-law were exhumed, it was found that they contained the poison antimony.

Oliver and Boyd. Edinburgh.

Date Published: 1865.

Stock No. 63142

Price: 125.00