the infamous Rugeley Poisoner
Skip to content
Brothers and Sisters
Annie Thornton – wife of William Palmer
Palmer’s five children
The Palmer family Vault
Palmer the Doctor
The Races & Palmer’s horses
Extracts from Palmer’s diary
Rugeley as depicted in the newspapers
1846. Was George Abley the first victim?
Leonard Bladen – died in Palmer’s house in 1850
Bly from Beccles
The Cross Keys Mystery
His Mother in Law – alcohol or poison?
Four of five Children – poison from his fingers?
Uncle Joseph (Bentley) – Died after drinking with Palmer!
Deaths of Other Children – Palmer Suspected
His wife Annie, natural causes, suicide or poison?
A narrow escape for George Bates?
Eliza Tharme the Maid-servant – and her illegitimate son
A Manx Murder and a Ghostly Carriage
John Parsons Cook – the crime for which William Palmer was hanged
John Cook’s stepfather Mr. William Stevens
Post-mortems and inquest verdict on Cook
Cook’s grave in Rugeley
Crimes not Murder
Did the Press convict Palmer before his trial?
His Demeanour – the calm poisoner
The ‘Palmer Act’ allows trial to be in London
The Trial of the Century
The three Judges selected for the Palmer Trial
The Prosecution: Counsel for the Crown
The Defence Team: Counsel for the Prisoner
Reasons for doubting the safety of the verdict
In the Witness Box
Jere Smith’s poor performance in the witness box harmed Palmer’s case
Medical evidence – did Cook die from strychnine?
The Sentance – Palmer’s fate is sealed
How the trial differed from trials today
Details of the execution – the crowd, the scene, the drop!
William Palmer’s final words
Palmer’s executioner – George Smith, the Dudley hangman
The Death Mask – a gruesome artefact
William Palmer’s final resting place
Stafford Hangings – others who faced the drop
Further study – where to look for more information
Rugeley’s name – famous for the wrong reasons
Some of the memorabilia linked with Palmer