Hello again Readers
As promised here is the third instalment about my new and second true crime book. Two people have been sent to trial at the twice yearly assizes,one man and one woman. The rumour is that the man is a paramour (lover) of the murdered man’s wife. These two did not help their cause by trying to do a runner ….. only to get caught by the police! They are both charged with wilful murder by poisoning the woman’s husband. If found guilty they will hang for sure.
When the trial begins the judge addresses the grand jury and warns them about the most serious upcoming case. There have been no confessions and no-one has been witnessed putting poison into the food or drink of the deceased. It will therefore difficult to reach a decision and the jury must consider circumstantial evidence. The judge advises that there is one possible outcome,and he calls this particeps criminis. This is latin for accessory. In other words one of the accused might only be an accessory,but which one,the man or the woman? In a way the judge is guiding the jury to the decision the authorities want. There is no contemplation that both might be innocent. If one is particeps criminis then the other must be the murderer. This was justice in early Victorian Britain and an example must be made of murderers, even if it turns out to be the woman. The whole country is in the grip of a poison panic and it is feared there are women poisoners at work everywhere.
The trial is long and complicated.That notable chemist Alfred Swaine Taylor travels up from London to give valued testimony about the effects of arsenic poison. The many witnesses from the inquest are called back. There are some new witnesses to give evidence. It turns out to be the longest trial ever known in the courtroom. The jury listen to a summing up from both defence counsels then the judge sends the jury out to consider their verdict.They stay out for 30 minutes,one hour, one hour thirty minutes,then two full hours.Knowing looks are exchanged amongst the counsels and clerks.The jury are finding it hard too reach a verdict. Will it be one death sentence,two or none at all? The jury file back in and the clerk of assize asks have they reached a verdict? They reply they have! What is the verdict asks the clerk? We find………………………………
Ah well that’s all for now,verdict will be revealed tomorrow along with another surprise…..
This is indie author and researcher Mike Sheridan signing off after writing for most of this day…….. but I will be back tomorrow dont worry!