The Newgate Calendar - ELIZABETH WOOLLERTON

ELIZABETH WOOLLERTON
Executed for Poisoning.

            This wicked woman, unlike the unfortunate Eliza Fenning, had the crime brought home to her, which she aggravated by attempting to throw the charge upon her daughter.

            Elizabeth Woollerton, the wife of a farmer, residing at Denton, Norfolk, and the mother of nine children, was tried on a charge of having mixed a certain quantity of arsenic in a cake, which cake she sent as a present to her uncle, Tifford Clarke, Esq. on the 2d day of July, 1816, thereby intending to kill him; and part of the said cake being eaten by Robert Sparkes, son of Benjamin Sparkes, occasioned his death.

            Mr. Benjamin Lone, apothecary at Bungay, said that the prisoner had purchased from him a quantity of arsenic on the 22d of June; also on a prior occasion.

            It was proved by the prisoner's daughters, who were admitted evidence against her, that she had made the cake in question, and sent it to her uncle. it further appeared that she stood indebted to her uncle in the sum of two hundred pounds, and who intimated leaving her by his will a further sum of five hundred pounds.

            Mr. Clarke proved the having received cakes from the prisoner on a former occasion, the eating of which had made him extremely ill, and in consequence he desired her not to send him such cakes in future; and for the reason alluded to he refused to eat of the cake in question. The housekeeper of Mr. Clarke, upon this, unknowingly sent the poisoned cake to her son-in-law, Sparkes, who had a family of five children. Upon receipt of it, the mother of the deceased divided the cake into equal portions for the children's breakfast next morning, previous to their departure far school at an early hour. The youngest of these, a boy six years old, was the first to eat his portion, which ultimately proved fatal to him; the other four were dangerously ill, but by means of timely assistance recovered, not having ate their full proportions: owing to this circumstance, the eldest, a girl about twelve years old, perceiving an acrid taste, took from her brothers and sisters that which remained uneaten.

            The surgeons who opened the body of the deceased proved, by means of analyzation, that that part of the cake found in the stomach contained arsenic, occasioning the death of the boy; and, in like manner, that part of the cake which had not eaten. The prisoner, in her defence, persisted in her innocence, after an attempt to throw it upon her daughter, an interesting girl fourteen years of age! She was found Guilty -- Death; and pursuant to her sentence was executed on Monday, July 17, 1816, at Ipswich, amidst an immense crowd of spectators.

 

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