Thursday, August 19, 2010

knitted homes of crime

knitted by Jean Arkell
these are the homes of female killers and the houses where they committed their crimes.
(or an ultimate spark of genius quirkiness)

Christiana Edmunds was a 43 year old spinster who lived with her widowed mother. She had become infatuated with a married man, Dr. Beard. In September 1870 she brought a box of chocolates to the Beard's house and insisted that Mrs. Beard eat some over a pot of tea. Christiana had filled these chocolate creams with strychnine. Immediately after eating one Mrs. Beard became severely ill. As a result Dr. Beard accused her of trying to poison his wife. Christiana denied the charge and set about trying to prove that there was a poisoner at large in Brighton. She would pay children to buy chocolate creams from the same sweet shop that she purchased the box of chocolates for Mrs. Beard from. She would inject these with strychnine, then re-wrap them and pay another child to return them. The innocent shop-keeper sold on these poisoned sweets. On 12 June 1871 this activity resulted in the death of 4-year-old Sidney Barker. Christiana even sent poisoned cakes and fruit through the mail, addressing some to herself, to try to emphasise her innocence. She was eventually caught and sentenced to death but when it transpired that she was mentally ill her sentence was commuted and she was sent to Broadmoor. She died there in 1907 aged 79. It later transpired that no less than four members of her immediate family had died as a result of mental illness.

Charlotte Bryant, a 33-year-old illiterate mother of five, lived here with her husband Frederick. She enjoyed a drink and had a reputation as an amateur prostitute in the local pubs. Apparently her toothlessness and lice did not put the men off. Sometimes she even brought them home. One of these men was Leonard Parsons, a gypsy horse trader. Leonard became an occasional lodger in the Bryant household and Frederick did not seem to mind sharing Charlotte with him. Charlotte decided otherwise and started poisoning Frederick so that she would be free to marry Leonard. Frederick eventually died on 22 December 1935 after drinking a cup of Oxo containing arsenic. Charlotte was caught after the post-mortem on Frederick's body. A friend also told the police that she had seen Charlotte trying to destroy a tin of weed-killer. She was hanged at Exeter Prison on 15 July 1936.

Mary Eleanor Wheeler, aged 24, was living with a Charles Creighton under the assumed name of Eleanor Pearcey. She was having an affair with a married man, Frank Hogg. On 24 October 1890 she invited his wife Phoebe to tea. In her own kitchen she battered Mrs. Hogg over the head with a poker and then slit her throat. She also killed the Hoggs' 18-month-old baby daughter who Mrs. Hogg had brought along with her. Eleanor put the bodies into the baby's pram. When it was dark she pushed the pram around disposing of the two bodies as she went. She was soon caught. Despite her claims that the blood in her kitchen came from a session of mouse killing she was found guilty and hanged at Newgate Prison on 23 December 1890. Her father had been hanged ten years earlier. Her last request was for a mysterious advertisement to be placed in a Madrid newspaper. It read "M.E.C.P. Last wish of M.E.W. Have not betrayed"