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Florence Elizabeth MAYBRICK






Birth name: Florence Elizabeth Chandler
Classification: Murderer?
Characteristics: Parricide - Poisoner
Number of victims: 1 ?
Date of murder: May 11, 1899
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: September 3, 1862
Victim profile: James Maybrick, 60 (her husband)
Method of murder: Poisoning (arsenic)
Location: Liverpool, Merseyside, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to death on August 8, 1899. Commuted to life imprisonment on August 12, 1899. Released on January 25, 1904. Died on October 23, 1941
photo gallery
Trial of Mrs. Maybrick (12,7 Mb)

Florence Elizabeth Maybrick (3 September 1862 – 23 October 1941) was an American woman convicted in Great Britain of murdering her considerably older husband, James Maybrick.

Early life

She was born Florence Elizabeth Chandler in Mobile, Alabama, the daughter of William George Chandler, a partner in the banking firm of St. John Powers and Company, and at one time mayor of Mobile.

Her father died, and her mother remarried to Baron Adolph von Roques, a cavalry officer in the Eighth Cuirassier Regiment of the German Army. While travelling to Britain with her mother, she met cotton broker James Maybrick on board ship. Other passengers were either amused or shocked by a 19-year-old girl spending so much time alone in the company of Maybrick, who was 23 years her senior.

On 27 July 1881, they were married at St James's Church, Piccadilly, in London. They settled in Battlecrease House, Aigburth, a suburb of Liverpool.

Florence made quite an impression on the social scene in Liverpool, and the Maybricks were usually to be found at the most important balls and functions, the very picture of a happy, successful couple. But all was not as it seemed. Maybrick was a regular user of arsenic and had a number of mistresses, one of whom bore him five children. Florence meanwhile, increasingly unhappy in her marriage, entered into several liaisons of her own. One was with a local businessman, Alfred Brierley, which her husband was told about. She was also suspected of having an affair with one of her brothers-in-law, Edwin. A violent row ensued after Maybrick heard reports of Florence's relationship with Brierley, during which Maybrick assaulted her and announced his intention of seeking a divorce.

Murder charge

In April 1889, Florence Maybrick bought flypaper containing arsenic fom a local chemist's shop and later soaked it in a bowl of water. At her trial, she claimed that this method allowed her to extract the arsenic for cosmetic use.

James Maybrick was taken ill on 27 April 1889 after self-administering a double dose of strychnine. His doctors treated him for acute dyspepsia, but his condition deteriorated.

On 8 May Florence Maybrick wrote a compromising letter to Brierley, which was intercepted by Alice Yapp, the nanny. Yapp passed it to James Maybrick's brother, Edwin, who was staying at Battlecrease. Edwin, himself by many accounts one of Florence's lovers, shared the contents of the letter with his brother Michael Maybrick, who was effectively the head of the family. By Michael's orders Florence was immediately deposed as mistress of her house and held under house arrest.

On 9 May a nurse reported that Mrs Maybrick had surreptitiously tampered with a meat-juice bottle which was afterwards found to contain a half-grain of arsenic. Mrs Maybrick later testified that her husband had begged her to administer it as a pick-me-up. However, he never drank its contents.

James Maybrick died at his home on 11 May 1889. His brothers, suspicious as to the cause of death, had his body examined. It was found to contain slight traces of arsenic, but not enough to be considered fatal. It is uncertain whether this was taken by Maybrick himself or administered by another person. After an inquest held in a nearby hotel, Florence Maybrick was charged with his murder and stood trial at St George's Hall, Liverpool, before Justice James Fitzjames Stephen, where she was convicted and sentenced to death.

After a public outcry, Henry Matthews, the Home Secretary, and Lord Chancellor Halsbury concluded 'that the evidence clearly establishes that Mrs Maybrick administered poison to her husband with intent to murder; but that there is ground for reasonable doubt whether the arsenic so administered was in fact the cause of his death'.

The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment as punishment for a crime with which she was never charged. During the 1890s new evidence was publicized by her supporters, but there was no possibility of an appeal, and the Home Office was not inclined to release her, in spite of the strenuous efforts of Lord Russell, the Lord Chief Justice.

The case was something of a cause célèbre and attracted considerable newspaper coverage on both sides of the Atlantic. Arsenic was then regarded by some men as an aphrodisiac and tonic, and James Maybrick had certainly taken it on a regular basis. A city chemist confirmed that he had supplied Maybrick with quantities of the poison over a lengthy period and a search of Battlecrease House later turned up enough to kill at least fifty people.

Although her marriage was clearly over in all but name, Florence had little motive to murder her husband. The financial provision Maybrick had made for her and his children in his will was paltry and she might have been far better off with him alive but legally separated from her. Many people held the view that Florence had indeed poisoned her husband because he was about to divorce her which, in Victorian society, would see her ruined. An even more compelling motive might have been the prospect of losing the custody of her beloved children.


After detention in Woking and Aylesbury prisons, Florence Maybrick was released in January 1904, having spent fourteen years in custody. Although she had lost her American citizenship when she married her British husband, she returned to the United States. Initially she earned a living on the lecture circuit, protesting her innocence.

In later life, after some months spent unsuccessfully as a housekeeper, Florence became a recluse, living in a squalid three-room cabin near Gaylordsville, South Kent, Connecticut with only her cats for company. She never saw her children again. Few residents had any knowledge of Florence's true identity and the lady who had once charmed Victorian Liverpool died alone and penniless on 23 October 1941, and was buried in the grounds of South Kent School. Among her few possessions was a tattered family bible. Pressed between its pages was a scrap of paper, which, in faded ink bore directions for the soaking of flypapers for use as a beauty treatment.

Florence Maybrick wrote a book about her experiences soon after her release. A rare copy of My Fifteen Lost Years is still held by Liverpool City Libraries.

Non-fiction books and pamphlets about the case

  • Boswell, Charles, and Lewis Thompson. The Girl with the Scarlet Brand (1954).

  • Christie, Trevor L. Etched in Arsenic (1968).

  • Daisy Bank Print. and Pub. Co. Full Account of the Life & Trial of Mrs. Maybrick: Interesting Details of her Earlier Life (ca. 1901).

  • Densmore, Helen. The Maybrick Case (1892).

  • Irving, Henry B. Trial of Mrs. Maybrick (Notable English Trials series, 1912).

  • Irving, Henry B. "Mrs. Maybrick", in James H. Hodge (ed.), Famous Trials III (Penguin, 1950) pp. 97–134

  • J.L.F. The Maybrick Case: A Treatise Showing Conclusive Reasons for the Continued Public Dissent from the Verdict and "Decision." (1891).

  • L.E.X. Is Mrs. Maybrick guilty?: A Defence Shewing that the Verdict of Guilty is not Founded on Fact, and is Inconsistent with the Presence of a Strong Element of Doubt; with Reasons for Mrs. Maybrick's Release (1889).

  • Levy, J. H. The Necessity for Criminal Appeal: As Illustrated by the Maybrick Case and the Jurisprudence of Various Countries (1899).

  • MacDougall, Alexander. The Maybrick Case (1891 and 1896).

  • Mason, Eleanor. Florie Chandler: or, The Secret to the Maybrick Poisoning Case (1890).

  • Maybrick, Florence E. Mrs. Maybrick's Own Story: My Fifteen Lost Years (1904).

  • Morland, Nigel. This Friendless Lady (1957).

  • Ryan Jr., Bernard. The Poisoned Life of Mrs. Maybrick (1977).

  • Tidy, Charles Meymott and Rawdon Macnamara. The Maybrick Trial: A Toxicological Study (1890)


Maybrick, Florence

James Maybrick was a 42-year-old cotton-broker and lifelong hypochondriac when he married Florence Elizabeth Chandler in London on 27th July 1881. She was American and just eighteen. In 1884 they moved to Liverpool and bought Battlecrease House, a mansion in the southern suburb of Aigburth. They employed a cook, two maids and a nanny to look after their two children. As Florence's housekeeping allowance was only £7 a week, she soon ran into debt.

In 1887 Florence discovered that James was keeping a mistress and found some solace in the company of Alfred Brierley, one of her husband's friends. In March 1889 she spent the weekend with Brierley in a London hotel. They had planned to spend a week together but, after Brierley revealed that he was in love with someone else, she told him that they must finish. She spent the rest of the week with friends and returned to Liverpool on Friday 28th March. The next day was Grand National day at Aintree and Florence accompanied her husband to the races. She bumped into Brierley and, much to her husband's disgust, walked up the course with him. They returned home separately. James was absolutely furious that his wife had shown him up and the couple rowed, with Maybrick striking his wife.

The next day James drew up a new will, excluding his wife. Florence paid a visit to the family doctor, Dr Hopper, and complained of feeling unwell. He noticed her black eye and she told him that her husband had hit her and that she wanted a divorce. The doctor managed to reconcile the couple and James agreed to pay of his wife's housekeeping debts.

Florence had previously expressed her concern to the doctor over her husband's habit of taking poisons. He regularly took arsenic in a cup of beef tea and dosed himself with a tonic containing the same poison. He also regularly consumed a preparation containing strychnine though, according to Florence, he always seemed worse after doing so. The doctor had warned Maybrick against taking such preparations but it failed to deter him.

On Monday 23rd April Florence purchased a dozen fly-papers from a local chemist and left them soaking in a bowl on the bedroom wash-stand. This, she said, was to make a cosmetic preparation to clear up some skin problems. The following Saturday, the 27th, James complained of feeling sick. By the next morning his condition had worsened sufficiently for Dr Humphreys, the children's doctor, to be summoned. The doctor prescribed for him and, after further visits on the Monday and Tuesday, diagnosed Maybrick as having chronic dyspepsia and put him on a strict diet. On Wednesday he was well enough to go to work but on Friday he was ill again, complaining of pains in his legs. On Saturday he was constantly vomiting and his hands felt numb. He continued to vomit Sunday and Monday and was visited each day by Dr Humphreys.

On Tuesday he started to feel better again but Edwin, James' brother who was staying at Battlecrease House after a visit to the States, decided that they should seek a second opinion. Accordingly, Dr Carter arrived at the house about 5pm.

After examining James he concluded that he was suffering from acute dyspepsia and, like Dr Humphreys, prescribed a strict diet.

On Wednesday Maybrick's condition had worsened again. He was visited by two friends, Mrs Briggs and Mrs Hughes.

Once she heard of the soaking fly-papers and she had spoken to Edwin, she sent a telegram to Maybrick's other brother, Michael, who lived in London. She also told Florence to send for a trained nurse to look after James. The nurse arrived shortly after 2pm and at about 3pm Florence gave the nanny, Alice Yapp, a letter to post.

According to the nanny, she happened to drop the letter and she happened to read the letter as she was changing the envelope. Instead of posting the letter she gave it to Edwin Maybrick. 'Dearest, Since my return I have been nursing M day and night - he is sick unto death!' Florence was forbidden to tend to her husband virtually placed under house arrest by the family.

Thursday saw James' condition worsen. Samples of his urine and faeces were taken to be analysed for arsenic, but none was found. By Saturday Maybrick's condition had deteriorated to the point where the doctors warned the family that he would not recover. His children were taken in to him at 5pm and he died shortly after 8pm. The house was searched and a packet marked 'Arsenic: Poison', with the words 'for cats' added, was found in Florence's room.

A post mortem was carried out on Monday 13h May with the doctors determining that death was due to an irritant poison.

The body was buried but was exhumed for re-examination on 30th May. Toxic analysis of the liver, intestines and spleen found less than half a grain of arsenic with none in the heart, lungs or stomach. Traces of strychnine, hyoscine, morphia and prussic acid were found but the latter two were to be expected as they had been contained in the medicines administered to the dead man.

Meanwhile, Florence had been arrested and was being detained in Walton Jail hospital. Her trial began at Liverpool Summer Assizes on 31st July 1889. All medical testimony agreed that Maybrick had died of gastro-enteritis but disputed whether it had been caused by a chill, arsenic or bad food. Despite the lack of any evidence that Florence had administered any poison to her husband the judge's summing up, which lasted two days, rambled on making point after point against her, making much of her affair with Brierley and her letter to him. After retiring for 45 minutes the all-male jury returned a guilty verdict and she was sentenced to death.

Meetings were held and petitions were sent. On 22nd August, four days before her execution, Florence was reprieved and her sentence commuted to life imprisonment. She served 15 years before being released on 25th January 1904. She returned to America and died in squalor and surrounded by cats, in Connecticut, on 23rd October 1941.


Poisoned Justice: The Florence Maybrick Story

By Kristie Sweet -

The marriage became troubled, and both partners had at least one affair. In May of 1889, James became ill. His health variously improved and deteriorated through the next two weeks. Suspicious of their mistress' behavior, some of the servants spoke to the neighbors about their concerns. Neighbors, in turn, notified Maybrick's brothers, notably Michael. Professional nurses were called in, leaving Florence largely shut out of James' sickroom. James finally succumbed May 11. Michael ordered a search of the house shortly thereafter, and arsenic was found. Florence was arrested and charged with murder. The judge in her trial was incompetent and obviously biased, as even the prosecution agreed, but she was nevertheless found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. A week before the day of execution, her sentence was reduced to life with hard labor. She was eventually released and lived most of the rest of her life as quietly as possible, dying known as the local cat lady in Connecticut in 1924.

There have certainly been cases of judicial mishandling, and Justice Stephen Fitzjames Stephen was certainly past his prime, misstating the facts of the case as well as the law. But even setting aside his errors, the evidence is obvious: Florence Maybrick was not guilty of her husband's murder; in fact, there was no murder at all.

Much has been made of the supposition that James died of arsenic poisoning. Several doctors testified as such at Florie's trial. However, when cross examined, they admitted that they not only found no arsenic in James when they tested him in the days before his death, only in his dead body. They also were forced to concede that they had no way of telling the difference between death by arsenic and death by gastroenteritis unless they found arsenic (Lustgarten 153).

Even if he had died because of arsenic, it would be of no surprise to those who knew him well. He had been an arsenic eater for many years (Lustgarten 156). Local chemist (pharmacist) Edwin Heaton said Maybrick would sometimes come to his shop as many as five times a day to purchase arsenic (Lawbuzz). Michael's search turned up enough arsenic in the house "to kill fifty people" (wiki).

Apparently the doctors who attended James at the end were not appraised of this fact. James himself apparently did not tell them; one of them testified that he would not have thought about arsenic poisoning at all were it not for the suggestion of James' brother Michael (Lustgarten 152).

Florie was in possession of some arsenic and admitted so. She had purchased a number of fly papers and was soaking them in water in an attempt to extract some. A number of the servants saw the papers being steeped. She claimed she wanted to use the arsenic for a cosmetic cure, as it was part of a recipe she had lost. Her detractors scoffed at the idea.

It certainly has a firm foundation, however. A brief look at Florie's early life shows her to be a young, attractive, and vain woman. She was set to attend a ball shortly after James became ill, and she no doubt wanted to look her best for the high class crowd that would be there. It was not unheard of to use arsenic in such preparations, either; Queen Elizabeth I "used arsenic as part of the preparation that made her face appear white" (Lawbuzz). The fact that the recipe could not be found seemed to indicate to some that it never existed. Its existence is no longer in question; after Florie's death, the recipe was found pressed between pages of the family bible (wiki).

Some of this evidence against Florie actually could be used to support her story. For example, there was time between James' death and the search of the house orchestrated by Michael. Although Florie was no Rhoades Scholar, she surely was not so stupid as to leave such a large amount of arsenic around in easily found places, particularly if that were the method she had used to kill her husband? The large amount actually works in her favor.

Michael's part in the drama is quite significant, as well. It may seem difficult that he would so viciously attack Florie's position, but he had apparently never liked her, a fact not unnoticed by Florie. Florie was a notorious flirt, charming even the other Maybrick brother Edwin, and this did not sit well with the proper Michael Maybrick. Michael was in charge of James' estate, which was not a small sum (casebook jpg). It was when he arrived that Florie was denied access to James to give him care, so it seems Michael's suspicions began before he even arrived, probably due to the worried tone of the neighbor who called for him.

Florie's words and actions don't point toward a guilty conscience, either. The cook testified that Florie, crying in the kitchen, said she was upset about Michael blaming her for James' illness; "once Mr. Michael goes out of my house he shall never enter it anymore" (London Times). Michael certainly would not leave unless James improved or died. If he died and blamed Florie, obviously she would be leaving for jail. This comment leaves room only for James' eventual recovery.

A second commentary is found in a letter, the one letter she wrote in the throes of Maybrick's illness, a letter to her lover. It states in part, "We are terribly anxious. . . If you wish to write to me about anything do so now, as all the letters pass through my hands at present" (London Times). If she had attempted to kill her husband, why would she use the plural "we" in a letter no one was to see but her secret lover? Even more telling is the second sentence. Typically, Victorian men read through the mail and women had little or no access to it, as seems to be the case here. Since Florie suggests the man write to her quickly in order for her to receive the communication, the implication is that she doesn't expect the situation to last. Again, it seems obvious she expects James to recover.

Another element in her favor is the will. There was "paltry provision for her" (wiki) in the will which can be viewed at She was used to an expensive lifestyle, had no means of making her own money, and so had no motive to murder her provider. She had not only herself to think of but her children.

With all this evidence, the question pops up of how Florie could have been convicted. The answer lies in the love letter. Victorian women had a particular code of conduct, and American women living in England were often looked at with condescension and suspicion. A man could be expected to cheat on his wife, but a woman cheating on her husband was unforgivable. Had the letter not been opened by a nosy servant and then shown to a nosy neighbor, the entire fiasco might not have happened. Florie might not have lost her children, whom she never saw again, her position and wealth, her youth, and fifteen years of her life.

"Casebook: Jack the Ripper." 2005-2009. 13 Oct. 2009.

"Florence Maybrick." Law Buzz. 1999-2007. 20 Oct. 2009.

"Florence Maybrick." 9 Sept. 2009. 20 Oct. 2009.

London Times. "The Charge of Poisoning at Aigburth." 29 May 1889. 10 Oct. 2009. . Lustgarten, Edgar. "Florence Maybrick." The Mammoth Book of Unsolved Crimes, Ed. Roger Wilkes. New York: Carroll & Graff, 1999. 134-161. Print.


Florence Maybrick

Liverpool Mercury

January 18th, 1913

When the quivering mortal whose fate is in the balance happens to be a winsome young woman, who has been a wife and mother.

There can be few who do not sink a sense of justice and retribution in a flood of pity and sympathy. This view is born out by the case of Florence Elizabeth MAYBRICK, 26 year old wife of a Liverpool Merchant, who on, Wednesday July 31st 1889, was placed in the dock at Liverpool Assizes and charged with, having at Garston, on May 11th, feloniously, wilfully and of her malice of aforethought, killed and murdered her husband, James MAYBRICK.

James MAYBRICK, Cotton Broker, died at his residence, Battlecrease House, Aigburth, on Saturday, 11th May 1889, under mysterious circumstances. Suspicion had arisen in those attending him during his illness, that his wife had been attempting to poison him.

She was convicted and sentenced to death on the, 7th August 1889. On the 22nd of August this sentence was committed by the Home Secretary to one of, penal servitude for life. She served 15 yrs and was released on the 25th January 1904.

Two questions were raised by the study of the facts, did James MAYBRICK die from arsenic poisoning. If he did, was this administered by his wife, with the intent to murder him.

It was of no advantage to Mrs MAYBRICK that her defence had been entrusted to Sir Charles RUSSELL, in the opinion of many, the foremost advocate of his day, though not in Criminal Courts his signal-triumphs had been won. Attorney General in GLADSTONE’S, short lived administration in 1886, the first Roman Catholic since the reformation. In the April preceding Mrs MAYBRICK’S trial, he had concluded his speech before the Parnell Commission in the defence of the Irish Party, the greatest achievement of his forensic career.

Sir Henry LUCY, who met RUSSELL in Liverpool on the morning of Mrs MAYBRICK’S trial, spoke of RUSSELL’S confidence of his client’s aquital. As junior RUSSELL had the assistance of Mr [now Mr Justice] PICKFORD.

The jury was a Lancashire, not a Liverpool jury and according to Mr BINGHAM’S Q. C. Clerk, the precautions for secluding the jury was scandalously neglected. They spent their time in the billiard room of a local hotel, mixing freely with the ordinary frequenters.

RUSSELL called three witnesses from America who deposed to MAYBRICK’S habits of taking arsenic, while in the Country, that of a Chemist, Edwin Garnett HEATON, Exchange St, East, who identified MAYBRICK as a gentleman who he frequently supplied with a pick-me-up containing arsenic, for 18 mths previous to 1888. Increasing the dose from, 4-7 drops and 2-5 times a day. Equivalent to a third of a grain of white arsenic a day.

The police found a bottle in MAYBRICK’S office bearing the chemist’s name and address, described as, Spirits of Sol Volatile, a white liquid.

A Hairdresser was called as to the use of arsenic as a cosmetic and a Chemist as to the use of fly papers, by ladies, at times when no flies were present.

Sir James POOLE, stated that MAYBRICK had told him in conversation that he was in the habit of taking, “poisonous medicines” to which Sir James replied, “How horrible, the more you take the more you require, you will go on till they carry you off”.

RUSSEL dwelt with great force on the contrariety of the medical evidence and the failure to be certain of the cause of death.

Mr ADDISON for the prosecution, dealt with the medical evidence briefly, devoting most of his attention to the evidence that could point to Mrs MAYBRICK administering the poison. If however RUSSELL was right and the cause of death was in doubt, Mrs MAYBRICK was entitled to a verdict of aquital on a charge of wilful murder.

The summing up of Mr Justice STEPHENS lasted two days, after an absence of nearly three quarters of an hour the jury found Mrs MAYBRICK guilty of murder. The Judge sentenced her to death.

As he left St George’s Hall, Mr Justice STEPHENS was the object of hostile demonstrations from the large crowds gathered.

The TIMES the following day:-

Public not convinced of the prisoners guilt, Doctors differed beyond all hope of agreement on cause of death.

Petitions of reprieve poured in from all corners of the kingdom, half a million from the Liverpool Exchange alone. Petitions from Medical Practitioners who based their actions on the grounds that symptoms of arsenic poisoning during life and after death were insufficient.

Only discovery of arsenic in the viscera suggested such a cause of death. The amount found was less than any other previous case of arsenic poisoning.

A most sensible communication came from, Mr Auberon HERBERT, who asked wether it was necessary to inquire what irritant in the way of food caused the Gastro Enteritis in MAYBRICK, when his stomach had been used as, “a druggist’s waste pipe”, for such drugs as, strychnine, arsenic, jaborandi, cascara, henbane, morphia, prussic acid, papaine, iridin and others, administered during MAYBRICK’S illness.

Mr Fletcher MOULTON. Q. C. wrote, evidence for the prosecution had failed to negative the explanation that MAYBRICK’S death had been due to natural causes. Operating on a system that years of arsenic taking had developed a predisposition to gastro- enteritis.

Meetings in favour of Mrs MAYBRICK were held in Liverpool and London.

Members of Parliament signed petitions and other petitions were handed to the Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Justice STEPHENS had a long interview with the Home Secretary, Mr Henry MATHEWS. Q. C, M. P. On his return to Liverpool attending another conference lasting four hours in the presence of the Lord Chancellor, Lord HALSBURY.

Among other witnesses Dr TIDY was summoned.

In the Lancet on the 17th August, an article was highly unfavourable to Mrs MAYBRICK, Professors from various parts of the country were asked for their opinions on the justice of the conviction, four supported and three dissented the verdict.

Further conferences were held by Mr Justice STEPHENS and the Home Secretary. Sir Charles RUSSELL after the trial had sent a memorandum to the Home Secretary, pointing out that, though the means of poisoning were in reach by Mrs MAYBRICK, there was no evidence of her administering the poison and that the symptoms of MAYBRICK’S illness were that of gastro enteritis.

The gallows had already been erected in Walton Jail, within hearing distance of Florence MAYBRICK when on the 22nd of August the Home Secretary’s decision was announced. To respite the capital sentence and to commute the punishment of penal servitude for life.

In 1892 when Mr ASGUITH succeeded Mr MATHEWS as Home Secretary, determined attempts were made to procure the release of Mrs MAYBRICK.

In 1891 a fresh body of evidence was submitted to Mr ASQUITH, three affidavits from Mrs MAYBRICK’S Mother, Baroness-de-Roques, her servant, and a Solicitors Clerk in Paris described the findings of Dr BAY’S of New York, prescription for a face wash and its making up by a Parisian Chemist 1878.

An interesting affidavit was that of Valentine BLAKE the son of an Irish Baronet, explaining the large quantities of arsenic, some black, [mixed with charcoal], some white, found in the MAYBRICK’S house, procured by MAYBRICK to use as a drug, by Mrs MAYBRICK to use as a face wash. There was no evidence Mrs MAYBRICK had procured such considerable quantities. If Mrs MAYBRICK had known of the presence of the large amounts of arsenic in the house, why? did she find it necessary to purchase fly paper.

Nether Mr ASQUITH nor his successor, Sir Mathew White RIDLEY’S efforts were successful in Florence MAYBRICK’S release. One man continued his efforts unremittingly, that of Sir Charles RUSSELL.

In 1895 he wrote to Florence MAYBRICK saying he had not relaxed his efforts to gain her release. In 1904 having served 15 years in Woking and Aylesbury Prisons, Mrs MAYBRICK was released from the latter in January 1904, shortly afterwards leaving England for America.


She must die

Freeborn County Standard
Minnesota, U.S.A.
15 August 1889

Liverpool, Aug. 8.

Mrs. Maybrick has been found guilty and sentenced to death. Nothing can save her from the gallows now but the intervention of the Queen, through her Home Secretary. It may be possible that a popular petition may succeed in putting the convicted American girl behind bars for life, but this as yet is mere speculation. As the case stands at this moment she is condemned to die on the scaffold. When the accused came into court her pale, haggard appearance was fairly startling. She had to be helped up the stairs leading to the dock. When she got to the top of the stairs she staggered and trembled, and it was with much difficulty that she walked to the front of the dock. When she reached the rail she again trembled, clutched the rail and looked as if she was about to faint. With a deathly pale face she took a seat in the dock and swayed backwards and forwards in her chair as if about to fall. She was evidently ill and weak. The female attendant kept constant watch upon her.

Judge Stephen, in his charge to the jury, said there ws strong and distressful evidence to show that the prisoner had a motive for ridding herself of her husband. This could be found in her infidelity, which had rendered it necessary for her to enter into inextricable mazes of living. He also called particular attention to the phrase "he is sick unto death," contained in her letter to Brierly. This was terribly important in view of the fact that on the day the letter was written the doctors fully expected Mr. Maybrick would recover. It showed there was a reason for believing that the prisoner was desirous of being rid of her husband, in order that she might live with her paramour. The Judge put the question to the jury whether it was reasonable to believe that a loving wife would yield to her husband's suggestion and put an unknown powder in his food.

At 3:20 o'clock the judge stopped talking and said: "Now, gentlemen, consider your verdict." Breathless silence reigned in the court as the jurymen filed out. Friends of the accused, who calculated on a verdict of acquittal without the jurors leaving their seats, began to look anxious as the time crept slowly on. The interest of the crowded courtroom centered on the prisoner. She looked around anxiously, watching the door of the jury-room. At length the twelve trusty men returned, after being out an hour and thirty minutes. The judge resumed his place and there was a terrible stillness throughout the court.

The foreman of the jury said: "We have agreed that the accused is guilty." The clerk asked the customary question whether the woman had any thing to say before sentence of death was passed. The prisoner, pale and haggard, rose, with a respectful bow, and addressed his lordship in these words: "My lord, evidence has been kept back from the jury which, if it had been known, would have altered the verdict, I am not guilty of this offense." Saying this she sat down, gasping for breath, and seemed more dead than alive. The poor woman sat sobbing like a child, while the judge, assuming the black cap, in solemn tones sentenced her to be hanged by the neck till dead. At this moment there was an awful hush upon the court, and a pin could have been heard to drop. Some of the women present were in tears. The judge himself was visibly moved.

As Mrs. Maybrick rose to walk from the fatal dock she tottered and almost fell, and kindly the wardens put out their hands to steady her. But it was her strength and not her courage that had failed her. She shrank from the hands of the wardens as if the well-meant help was repulsive to her delicate tastes.

After the verdict became known, thousands of people assembled around the entrance to the court-room and waited for the departure of the judge. As soon as he made his appearance, he was greeted with howls of rage, and the hooting of the crowd was kept up for a long time. There were incessant cries of "Shame," and an attack upon the judge's carriage was only prevented by the active interference of the police. The feeling in Liverpool against the verdict is intense. Steps have been taken to secure a stay of execution on the ground of the discovery of further medical evidence.

London, Aug. 8.

The London papers give a feeble approval of the verdict of guilty against Mrs. Maybrick. The Times holds that enough evidence has been presented on the side of the accused to make her case one for the earnest consideration of the Home Office.

Mrs. Maybrick is an American woman and has resided in England for some years. Her crime was the poisoning of her husband, James Maybrick. Mr. Maybrick had been ill for some time and Mrs. Maybrick had been nursing him. As he continued to fail in health his relatives began to suspect that he was being poisoned by his wife, and one of them, Michael Maybrick, commenced to watch her. In his testimony he said that he had visited his brother during his illness and had warned Mrs. Maybrick that he suspected his brother was receiving improper treatment. His wife insisted upon her right to nurse her husband. He thereupon summoned two doctors and a new nurse. He also seized a bottle containing brandy and extract of meat. At a later visit he found Mrs. Maybrick changing the contents and labels of medicine bottles. He remonstrated with her and asked her how she dare to do such a thing. She replied that there was sediment in the bottles. He again caused a change of nurses to be made. Notwithstanding his precautions, however, his brother grew worse and died in a short time. He was delirious towards the end. After his death the nurse gave him a parcel labelled: "Arsenic poison for cats." Many other witnesses corroborated Michael Maybrick's testimony, and some of them said Mrs. Maybrick hated her husband and had threatened to "give it to him hot" for publicly upbraiding her. It was also shown that she had tampered with his medicine.



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