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Dr Edward William Pritchard – Trial Pt. 1 (Podcast)

Welcome back to part 3 of our 3rd case. The trial of Dr Edward William Pritchard for the supposed poisoning of his mother-in-law and wife begins here. If the newspaper reports, so far, are to be credited, it’s not looking great for our doctor but we’ll see how it goes for him. Let’s get into it, shall we? 

Caledonian Mercury, Monday 3rd July, 1865, pp.2 & 3. 







   This morning Edward William Pritchard was placed at the bar of the High Court of Justiciary, charged with the wilful murder of Jane Cowan or Taylor, his mother-in-law, and of Mary Jane Taylor or Pritchard, his wife. The case, so far as it has gone, has created a great deal of interest, and is likely to take a prominent place among the criminal records of this country. As in the cases of William Palmer and Madeline Smith, the charge is that of killing by poison – a crime that, from its secret and deadly nature, has in all ages and in all civilised countries been regarded with horror by the people, and, when proved, has met with the sternest punishment of the law… Our readers will doubtless prefer a brief summary of the facts of the case against Dr Pritchard, so far as the hidden procedure of the Scotch judicial proceedings has hitherto made known. The prisoner is a medical man, holding the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the foreign University of Erlangen. He is well known, and up to a recent date was much respected in Glasgow, where he had an extensive and respectable professional practice. On the 19th of March last Mary Jane Taylor or Pritchard, his wife, died, after a short illness, and was buried in the Grange Cemetery, Edinburgh, on the following Monday. Her remains were attended to the grave by the prisoner, who seems to have manifested the customary signs of grief, and to have been duly impressed with the melancholy nature of the duty he was performing. In his absence from Glasgow, however, suspicions were aroused as to the cause of this hasty funeral, and certain information was communicated to the police of that city sufficient to justify his arrest on a charge of murder. Accordingly, on his return from Edinburgh on the day of his wife’s interment, he was apprehended at the railway station and conveyed to prison to await examination by the authorities. The examination was made on the following day, and the prisoner elected to make a declaration, the substance of which was that his wife died of gastric fever. In a case of poisoning, the supposed committal of one crime invariably leads to the suspicion of others, and it was now remembered that the prisoner’s mother-in-law, an old woman, aged seventy-two years, had died in a remarkably sudden manner. Questioned on this head, he declared that the old woman’s death was caused by apoplexy [a stroke]. A good deal of evidence, the result of which has not yet reached the public in an authoritative form, and should therefore be received with the utmost caution, was taken on this occasion, the Sheriff holding it to be sufficient to justify every necessary inquiry. A young woman named Mary McLeod, housekeeper to the prisoner, was at first apprehended on a charge of complicity. It is stated that between Dr Pritchard and this woman improper intimacy existed, and that she used certain expressions denoting her knowledge of the nature of Mrs Pritchard’s illness. Whether this is the case or not McLeod was set at liberty, and will simply be brought up as a witness for the Crown. It may here be stated that, contrary to the general rule, Dr Pritchard was the sole medical attendant of his wife during her illness, and may therefore be supposed to have had cognisance of whatever drugs were supplied to her. The bodies of Mrs Taylor and of her daughter were disinterred, and the organs submitted to chemical analysis. The exhumation and inquiry elicited the fact that antimony had been administered in considerable quantities to the deceased Mrs Pritchard. The cause of death in the case of Mrs Taylor is, we believe, less satisfactorily known. The indictment charges the prisoner – first, with having poisoned Mrs Taylor with tartarised antimony, aconite, and opium, or one or other of these drugs; and second, with having taken away the life of his wife by the administration of antimony, or aconite, or both together. We understand that the medical evidence will show considerable diversity of opinion, and it is probable that the whole case will rest upon the agreement or disagreement of that evidence. A Glasgow cotemporary gives from what seems a reliable source the nature of the line of defence to be pursued. Put in brief space, it is that the tests for the discovery of poison were not good; that the death of Mrs Taylor was caused by apoplexy, or by an overdose of opium of which she was an habitual eater; and that in the case of Mrs Pritchard, the discrepancies in the medical evidence for the Crown prove its worthlessness. A piece of negative evidence will also, it is said, be laid strong hold of. A parcel of tapioca which was sent to Dr Pritchard’s house during his wife’s illness can be traced from the grocer’s messenger into the hands of the prisoner’s servant. It lay on the lobby table only a few minutes, and was then taken to the kitchen by the servant, who did not remark the smallest sign of its having been tampered with. A portion of it was cooked for Mrs Pritchard, who, upon taking a little of it, became sick. The servant girl who ate some of what remained in the dish was the next morning seized with diarrhœa; and on subjecting the rest of the parcel of tapioca to analysis the presence in it of tartarised antimony was detected in considerable quantity. Meanwhile there is no evidence to show that Dr Pritchard ever saw the parcel, or had any opportunity of drugging it. Whether these statements are correct or not a few days will show. The prisoner will, no doubt have a full and impartial trial; and as his interests are entrusted to counsel whose abilities are above dispute, he is (if innocent) not likely to sustain injury at the hands of a jury of his countrymen. Meanwhile the public will, no doubt, suspend its judgment until cause for a definite opinion has been shown, keeping in view the well-known principle of British jurisprudence, that an accused person must be held to be innocent until the reverse has been proved.  

   The trial has been postponed beyond the usual time. It was at first intended that it should have taken place in Glasgow; but the evidence having failed to be completed in time for the Spring Circuit, and the prisoner having, by a peculiar process of Scotch law, “run his letters” i.e., forced his trial – it has been of necessity removed to the Supreme Court. Dr Pritchard must now be found guilty or be set at liberty within six days; and as the list of witnesses is over 100, every exertion will be made to avert the trouble and confusion which would be caused by such a release, necessitating as it would a second apprehension and a new indictment. The prisoner arrived in Edinburgh on Monday the 26th ult., and was at once lodged in the Calton Jail, where he has remained until now. At half-past eight o’clock this morning he was removed in the criminal van to the Justiciary Court cell; and it is worthy of remark that there was no crowd at the prison gate, and that his arrival at Parliament Square was only witnessed by about two dozen persons.  

   From an early hour in the morning a crowd of people had assembled in Parliament Square. By eight o’clock some of the best seats in the Court were taken up by a favoured few. When the doors opened at half-past nine the Court rapidly filled, leaving hundreds outside in disappointment…  


   Nearly thirty reporters for the public Press were present, representing the newspapers of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Shields, and most of the leading towns in England, as well as the provincial newspapers of Scotland. The members of the bar mustered in considerable number, filling the seats behind the bar.  

   The counsel for the prosecution are the Solicitor-General (the Lord Advocate having been unexpectedly called to London), Mr Chrichton, and Mr Gifford. The counsel for the defence are Mr A. Rutherford Clark, Mr Wm. Watson, and Mr David Brand.  

   At three minutes past ten o’clock the prisoner ascended through the staircase in the floor into the dock with a firm step. He bowed to the Court, and at once took his seat. Subsequently his brother took a seat beside him. The public have been pretty well familiarised by photographs with Dr Pritchard’s features. He possesses a handsome, intelligent countenance, and is altogether of prepossessing appearance. He was dressed in deep mourning, and looked pale and thin. Though he exhibited the utmost coolness of demeanour, it was evident that he felt acutely the nature of his position.  

   The Lord Justice-Clerk, Lord Ardmillan, and Lord Jerviswoode, took their seats on the bench at a quarter-past ten, and the proceedings were at once commenced.  


   Mr CLARK, the senior counsel for the prisoner, intimated that he had an objection to make to the indictment.  

   Mr WATSON then addressed the Court. He said – I have to submit to your Lordships on behalf of the prisoner, that in this case both the charges of murder which are contained in this libel cannot go to trial at once. I think I shall be able to satisfy your Lordships that in this case there are good grounds for making this motion, and that there are also good grounds on which your Lordships should grant it. There are two charges contained in this indictment, both charges of wickedly and feloniously administering or causing poison to be taken with intent to kill, and of that purpose having been accomplished. The two charges are here separate, and they are not alleged to have been committed at the same time in the pursuance of any common object or design. The prejudice which the panel will take from these being tried at once arises from this, that to a certain extent there is on the face of the libel an identity in place and an identity in point of time. I think these are the only points in which it may be said that there is any similarity between them. The first charge is that between the 10th and 25th days of February 1865 the panel administered or caused to be taken by Jane Cowan or Taylor, now deceased, in a certain article of food, tartarised antimony, and aconite, and opium, or one or more of them; and the second charge is, that between the 22d day of December 1864 and the 18th day of March 1865 inclusive, and in particular on the 8th, 9th, and 21st days of February 1865, and on the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th days of March 1865, the panel did wickedly and feloniously administer to, or caused to be taken by, Mary Jane Taylor or Pritchard, now deceased, in a certain article of food, a poison called tartarised antimony, or aconite, or one or other of them. Your Lordships will observe that the locus is the same in both cases; that the crime in the one case was committed between the 10th and 25th days of February, the other, between the 22d December 1864 and the 18th March 1865. There are two separate charges here, and charges upon which I presume the prosecutor is prepared to bring separate and distinct proof. I do not think it is fair or legitimate that any prosecutor should say he is entitled to the benefit of any presumption which may be created in the minds of the jury, or any colouring which may be given in the evidence on one charge should go to the jury upon a similar charge. It may be in some cases that is a legitimate consideration; but I do not think it can be so where the offences charged are separate, where there is danger of the one running into the other – where there is evidence of presumptive evidence bearing upon one charge which does not properly apply to it. After the fullest investigation, so far as we can ascertain, of all the evidence to be led in this case, the advisers of the panel have ascertained to their own satisfaction, and they state to your Lordships as the result of their examination, that the defence of the panel will suffer prejudice, and that his counsel will be embarrassed by the fact of two charges of this nature going to trial at once. Then, my lord, we suffer other disadvantages; we lose the right of challenge – a right which is more limited on this side of the border than on the other side of the Tweed. Instead of ten challenges we have only five, and that is a material consideration in a case like this. I am not putting this matter as one of incompetency. I quite admit that it is competent for the Crown to accumulate charges in one indictment, and to proceed upon these accumulated charges at one and the same time; but I find it stated by Mr Hume that to some extent this is favourable to the panel, and that in many instances it is intended to be favourable to the panel, to save him the anxiety, the torture of mind that must be occasioned by being tried again and again under different indictments. But, at the same time, it is clearly within the discretion of this Court to interfere with the course which the public prosecutor proposes to adopt, and to appoint that no more than one or such other number of charges as to them may seem proper shall be sent to trial at one and the same time. I have said that this accumulation of charges is competent. In the case of murder, however, I think I shall be able to show that this is at least unusual, and that in this instance, where it has been objected to by the panel, I challenge the prosecution to show a single case in the least degree resembling the present, in which two direct charges of murder have been sent to the jury at the same time of the defence is thereby to be prejudiced. I may refer your Lordship to Mr Hume on this subject. He sets forth in the second volume of his Commentator very clearly a rule upon this subject as understood at the time he wrote. Mr Watson then quoted from this work. The grounds on which Mr Hume’s rule was laid down were – saving of public time, saving of expense, and advantage to the public, where the mode of procedure was kept within proper bounds. He, the learned counsel, then continued – It is quite obvious, from the cases which are cited by Mr Hume, that there is great public advantage from allowing various charges to go together. In such cases as those of theft and coining, where you have repeated charges of utterance, it is obviously for the advantage of the public, and for the promotion of the ends of justice, that such a course be allowed. But, my Lords, in a case like the present, it is a very different matter. I do not think any considerations of public convenience, or public expense, or the saving of public time, will be allowed by your Lordships to weigh when the charge is one of murder. It is often necessary, for the purpose of enabling a Court to mete out the punishment due to a particular offender, that all the charges upon which the Crown proposes to try him should be disposed of before sentence is pronounced; but these considerations, which are important in the classes of cases that Mr Hume quotes, are of no weight in a case of murder, where the law exacts one and the same penalty for conviction of a single crime, as it does upon a double or more aggravated and repeated charge. It is within the option of the prosecutor to take all the libels together or proceed with them at separate times and before different juries. The Court, in like manner, whensoever they find that such manifold charges are likely to prove oppressive either to the witness, the jury, or themselves; or if they see cause to think it may embarrass the panel or beget prejudice against him; or more particularly still, if they think it was the prosecutor’s object to embarrass him, the Court have it in their power to proceed with as many of the articles as they may think proper, reserving the other libels for afterwards. It is unnecessary for me to say that there is nothing in this case of that nature – that there is no intention here, or that the prosecutor can have no object in prejudicing the trial of this case. But we certainly do allege that in this case a joint trial may embarrass the panel in his defence and may beget prejudice against him in the mind of the jury; and in such case it is distinctly laid down by Hume that the Court are in the habit of taking, and should take, the course of separating the trial in such case. The practice I have spoken of seems to have sprung up under the toleration of the Court, for the ends of public convenience and for the advantage of the panel, as Mr Hume mentions. Sir George Mackenzie in his “Treatise on the Laws and Customs of Scotland,” lays it down that a person is not obliged to answer for more than one crime on one day, except there be different pursuers. Then, my Lord, when we come to deal with a double charge of murder, the leading case is that of Burke and McDougall in 1828; and I quote that case form the separate report taken in shorthand by Mr John McNeill. In that case were three several charges of murder. There were two panels – the panel Burke and the panel Macdougall – but I shall refer merely to the libel as directed against the prisoner Burke, because in the three charges he was alleged to have been the perpetrator of the crime. The first charge was one of murder, and that crime, with the others included in the indictment against him, appears to have been committed for the same nefarious purpose – namely, with the wicked fore-thought and intent of disposing of or selling the body of Mary Paterson or Mitchell to a surgeon, for dissection, or with some other wicked intent to the prosecutor unknown. The objection was taken in that case that the procedure at the instance of his Majesty’s Advocate was not competent; and the second plea was that although competent, it was a course which the Court should not permit to be followed in that particular instance. The plea of incompetency was given up, but it was urged by the counsel for the panel that the crimes charged were of such atrocity that the minds of the jury would be prejudiced from the fact that the prisoner was charged with three separate offences; that the mass of evidence submitted to the jury made it impossible for them to disengage or disentangle the facts, and to apply the proper evidence applicable to each; that there was danger of the evidence bearing upon one charge being applied to another charge. The motion of the panel’s counsel was given effect to, some of the judges agreeing with the observations made. Others of the judges, I think, expressed themselves perfectly satisfied, from the statement of counsel made at the bar, that the complication of the charges would not embarrass the defence, yet they gave effect to the motion upon this ground, that the course of justice could suffer no prejudice by their separation. In the course of the argument the Lord Advocate, after citing cases such as theft and robbery, mentioned by Hume, cited two cases to the Court in which a double charge had gone to trial. There did not appear to have been any objection taken on the part of the panel or his advisers to such a course being followed in either of these cases; and one of them was a case in which the Court would have had difficulty in acceding to the motion to separate, because the two persons whose murders were charged as separate offences were killed by a simultaneous discharge of muskets by the two panels in the course of a riot in the streets of Aberdeen, and the same articles, or one of the same, was alleged by the Crown to have been the cause of the double murder. The other case was that of a man seen to have sallied forth in the streets of Greenock armed with loaded weapons, and in the course of little less than an hour he perpetrated a double homicide with that weapon. Since the date of the case of Burke and McDougall in 1828 only two cases have gone to trial upon the double charge. The first of these is the case of Elizabeth Jeffrey, which was tried at Glasgow in 1838, and in which a verdict followed upon both charges; but in that case no objection was made on the part of the prisoner; but I have not the slightest doubt that the counsel who in that case defended the prisoner had well weighed in his own mind before going to trial whether or not by having the two charges separate or together the panel would suffer any damage whatever. There is one other case which followed, the case of her Majesty’s Advocate against Thompson and Walker, which came on for trial in the autumn circuit at Glasgow in 1857 but although no objection was taken there on the part of the panel, there was a distinct intimation from the bench that, had the counsel for the defence desired it to be done, they would have been prepared to grant a separate trial. This was a case where the charges were, first, of administering prussic acid or other poisons; the second was also a charge of administering prussic acid, and the third was a charge of murder; and in his charge to the jury, the late Lord Justice Clerk (Hope) said he would have been quite prepared, had the counsel for the defence desired it, to have gone on with the first charge alone. It was for the prisoner’s counsel to consider whether that would have been for his interest; and it was thought most advantageous to the accused to allow all the charges to go to trial together. My Lords, in the case that is before you, there are two separate charges of the gravest kind, because they are both charges of murder. They are set down upon the face of the indictment as separate offences, and I do not know that the public prosecutor in charging either of these offences could have experienced any greater difficulty in preparing two separate indictments, the one applicable to each of these crimes. You have not the slightest indication of anything like design or purpose to link the two together; you have not the slightest allegation, as you had in the case of Burke and McDougall, of one object likely to lead to the perpetration of the crimes charged – the purpose in the case I have referred to being obviously a course of traffic in the sale of human bodies. There is nothing of that kind here, nothing except that the two alleged crimes stand together on the one indictment. I do not mean to recapitulate the views taken upon this case by the counsel for the panel, or the grounds upon which these views are supported; but I think it quite relevant to ask your Lordships what possible harm or prejudice can the Crown or the public interest suffer from having the two trials separate. I do not think considerations of the saving of time or expense can weigh here. I do not think the Crown can legitimately maintain that the one case bears upon or illustrates the other. I do not think your Lordships will be moved by any consideration of doing justice expeditiously; and I therefore repeat, in conclusion, that I make my motion upon these grounds – in the first place, that it will naturally cause prejudice to the panel, because the evidence adduced in the one case will react upon the minds of the jury in considering the other; in the second place, that, taking the charges together will create embarrassment in the conduct of the defence; and, in the third place, that you have here no considerations either of public expedition or damage to the prosecutor’s cause to influence your Lordships in refusing the motion. As far as I can read the case of Burke and McDougall, it was the second of these considerations – namely, the consideration that it would create embarrassment in the conduct of the defence – that influenced the Court in giving effect to the motion there made, and that statement I here seriously and anxiously repeat on the part of the advisers of the panel; and in the circumstances of this case I have to submit that, taking the statement thus seriously made into account, there are grounds upon which your Lordships should grant the motion, and ordain that the trials do not proceed together, leaving it, of course, to the prosecutor to take his option as to which case he shall first try.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL then rose to reply. He said – Although I cannot concur with my learned friend at the bar in thinking the prisoner’s interests would be in any way prejudiced by this trial, I am sorry that I cannot accede to the motion which has been made on his behalf. Your Lordships will perfectly believe that this matter was very carefully and correctly arranged by the persons connected with the getting up of the indictment. These two murders which are here charged are in themselves and in their history parts inseparable of the same story, and it is for convenience in the administration of justice that no attempt should be made to separate these two charges from the events connected with them. It certainly did not occur to us that the influence of the prisoner would suffer in any way by taking the charges together, and I could wish that any grounds through which prejudices have been suggested to my friend Mr Watson would be stated. He did not in any way explain how that somehow or other a prejudice might be taken up against the man who is charged with two murders, which might not have been alleged against a man who is only charged with one; but it is not enough for the counsel for the prisoner, or for any party, to say that this man will suffer prejudice. In such cases it is usual to explain the grounds, and Mr Watson has not in any way explained the grounds. Looking to the charges as they are presented to us, they are not at all independent charges. They present this case – the case of a mother and daughter being murdered by the husband of the one and the son-in-law of the other, in the same house, within a few weeks of each other; and it is impossible to present to the Court and to the jury the history of the events embraced within each of the charges without repeating faithfully the events together. Although the charges were separated, it would be impossible to avoid pleading in the trial the other case and the circumstances attending it. The thing is quite impossible. The story of that house extends over all that period embraced in both charges, and in that case these charges cannot be separated. I therefore repeat that the motion for a separation is not at all reasonable.  

   Mr CLARK, the senior counsel for the defence, next addressed the Court, and in his remarks said the trials should be separated, that the case might be conducted in such a way as to secure the interests of the prisoner. The Solicitor-General had said that the whole story should be gone into as one; and in answer to that observation he had simply to make the remark that there were two separate charges which were not said upon the face of the indictment to be in any way connected with each other. The evidence which supported each of these charges must be separated, and the motion which was pressed upon their Lordships left it to the pleasure of the prosecutor to select either of the two charges he might desire to go first to trial.  

   Their Lordships then conferred for a minute or two together, and  

   Lord ARDMILLAN said the objection to the two charges of murder had been stated with great propriety and clearness, but the motion could not be disposed of on any ground of public convenience or of time. The Solicitor-General, for the Crown, disclaimed all such feelings as would create prejudice against the prisoner. They ought now, he thought, to ordain the prosecution as stated. The law had been so recognised for a very long period. For his own part he might say that if he could foresee any fair and legitimate interest a separation of the charges would confer upon the prisoner, or that any peril would accrue to him through a continuation of the charges, he would be satisfied with the motion; but as it was, he was not so satisfied.  

   Lord JERVISWOODE concurred. The position of the Court in a matter like that before them was onerous and serious; but after giving the case the best consideration, he had come to the conclusion that on the whole it was safe, even for the interests of the panel at the bar, that these two charges should both go to trial together than that they should be separated, seeing that the charges were embraced within the same period of time, and the mode of administering poison, if poison were administered at all, being also very much the same. He had also to submit that it was for the interests of justice that this case should be gone on with in one trial. On the whole he disagreed with the motion.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK said he was disposed to give credit to the prisoner’s counsel for his desire to make a separation of the charges, but he thoroughly concurred in dismissing the motion. It was impossible to separate the investigation of these two deaths. The prosecutor had alleged that upon the 25th of February last the prisoner’s mother-in-law died in the house of the prisoner, and on the 8th of March his wife died also. It was further alleged by the prosecutor that both persons died of poison; and lastly, he alleged that the poison was administered by the prisoner within a period extending from the month of December 1864 till the month of March 1865 – the administration in the case of the one person and the other being to a very considerable extent coincident. It appeared to him that the prejudice which was apprehended on the part of the prisoner’s counsel was a prejudice inseparable from the nature of the case, and not to be avoided by a separation of the two charges. He thought also that the course proposed for the Court to pursue by the prisoner’s counsel would create a far greater impression against the prisoner than the line of procedure laid down by the counsel for the prosecution. He therefore, for these reasons, entirely concurred in the views taken by his learned friends on the bench.  

   The motion was therefore not sustained.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK then asked if there were any objections to the relevancy of the libel?  

   Mr WATSON – No, none.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK then said:- Edward William Pritchard, you are charged under this indictment with the crime of murder. How say you, Are you guilty or not guilty?  

   The prisoner replied in a slightly tremulous voice, “Not guilty, my Lord.”  


    The following jury were then balloted for and sworn in:-  


   Sir Archibald Alison, Sheriff of Lanarkshire, examined by Mr GIFFORD – The prisoner emitted in my presence, in his sober senses, the declarations dated respectively, 22d of March 1865, and 21st April 1865.  

   Peter Morton, clerk in the Sheriff Court, Glasgow – The declaration produced dated 22d of March 1865, was emitted in my presence, the prisoner at the time being in his sound and sober senses.  

   Robert Wilson, clerk in the Sheriff Court, gave similar evidence to the declaration dated 21st April 1865.  

   Catherine Lattimer, Charlotte Street, Carlisle, examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL – I am a widow. I was at one time in the employment of Dr. Pritchard.  

   [The Solicitor-General here requested that the medical witnesses for the prosecution should be allowed to sit in Court during the hearing of the case. The request was agreed to by Mr Clark, on the understanding that the medical gentlemen for the defence should be allowed to sit during the examination of witnesses for the defence.]  

   The examination of the witness Latimer was then proceeded with. I was ten years in his service. I left on the 16th of February last. I was engaged as cook. I had a brother who was unwell at Carlisle, and who died in October last. I visited him at the time of his illness, and was away about a fortnight. Mrs Pritchard was living in the house when I left, and was in a good state of health at the time, so far as I know. They were then living in McLelland’s Place, one of the divisions in Sauchiehall Street. I returned in about a fortnight, in October. Mrs Pritchard was then complaining. The house consisted of three floors and a sunk one – four altogether. There were two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a cellar, on the sunk floor. Before I left in October, and when I returned, Mary Macleod was the only other servant along with me in the house. We slept together in the sunk flat. On the next floor were the consulting room, the dining room, and the pantry. Above that was the drawing room flat, containing the drawing room, and ante-drawing room, and two bedrooms, one of which was called the spare bedroom, and the children usually slept in the other. Mr King, a gentleman who boarded with Dr Pritchard, came in October, and after he came he had the children’s room. The top floor contained two good bedrooms, a nursery, and a small bedroom. Dr Pritchard and his wife slept in one of these bedrooms, and one of the children in the other, and another boarder, named Connal, who came in November, in the small bedroom, and the youngest child, about five years of age, a girl, slept in the same room, but in a different bed. There were five children altogether, the oldest of whom was about eleven years of age. Only four of these children were in the house. The oldest, whose name was Jane Frances, lived with her grandmamma in Edinburgh. When I returned, Mrs Pritchard was ailing, having got a cold, but she was not confined to bed. A few days after I came home, she took to her bed, but was able to be up occasionally. She was sometimes sick, and she told me herself that she was very often sick, but made no further remarks. She told me that she had frequent attacks of vomiting. No medical man attended her at this time, so far as I am aware. After the four or five days that she was confined to bed she got a little better. I remember her having to go to Edinburgh about the end of November. She did not appear to be quite well then, and had told me of her sickness and vomiting continuing until nearly the time when she was left. She returned from Edinburgh two days before Christmas, and her mother and daughter came with her. She appeared to be a great deal better in health upon her return from Edinburgh. Perhaps a week or more after her return she was again seized with sickness. Dr Pritchard was living with her in the house before she went to Edinburgh, and also after her return; he was also at home all the time she was away. I did not see her sick after her return, but I heard her vomiting. It was not a very frequent thing for her to be sick; I only occasionally heard her retching. She complained to me of being frequently very sick, and of having great tenderness of body. I made the observation to her myself. It was some time after eating that she generally complained of sickness. I once heard her vomiting when I was in the pantry. That would be about three weeks after my return from Edinburgh. I saw her daily, and I observed that she was falling off in health a short time after her return from Edinburgh. She looked pale, and losing her strength. She did not often speak to me about losing her strength, I not being able to account for it. She took to her bed about three weeks or more after her return from Edinburgh. I was to have left her service on the 2d of February, but Mrs Pritchard got me to stay for some time longer on account of her illness; and I stayed until the 16th, when Mary Paterson succeeded me in the place. On the 1st February she complained of sickness and cramp, which came on in the evening after dinner, which was served between three and four. I think her daughter dined with her that day. That was also the day I heard her sick in the pantry, and it was also the day before I was to have left. Mrs Pritchard went upstairs to her bedroom and rung her bell for me. This was about twenty minutes or half an hour after I heard her sick in the pantry. I went up and found her very ill in bed, with her clothes on. She said to me, “Catherine, I have lost my senses, I never was so bad as this before.” The cramp in her hands and side came on after I went up, and her tongue was also affected with it, and this affected her speech a little. Her fingers were stretched on the straight, and the thumb turned underneath them, and she seemed to have no power over them. Her face was rather flushed. Dr Pritchard was in by this time, and I believe he gave her a little spirits and water. The first he saw of this attack of illness was when he went in with me. He rubbed her hands with me. He said that the cramp was very strange.  

   Did his wife say anything about it?   

   Witness – No, I did not hear her say anything. She seemed in great pain.  

   Where was the pain?  

   Witness – It was with cramp, and in the stomach?  

   Lord ARDMILLAN – What did she say about her stomach.  

   Witness – She said there was pain there.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did you hear her tell her husband that she was insensible, or that she had lost her senses?  

   Witness – I cannot remember that she told this to me, nor can I remember that she said anything to her husband. I remained with her till she was quite free of that. That would be about half an hour, and it would be about seven o’clock in the evening when I left her. I left her husband with her. I saw her that night again between nine and ten. She was easy then, and was taken down into the spare room, where the Doctor ordered a fire to be lit. She was not able to walk down, and the Doctor carried her. I saw her again the same night about eleven o’clock, when she seemed better, but not quite well. I saw her next day, and she was a deal better.  

   But what did she complain of. Did she complain of anything?  

   Witness – I did not hear her complain.  

   Did she not complain of sickness?  

   Witness – No; nothing about that.  

   How long did she remain in bed?  

   Witness – I think she remained in bed from that time.  

   How long was that?  

   Witness – From that time till Mrs Taylor came. I saw her every day. I just went to see how she was. I think I heard from herself that before Mrs Taylor came she had suffered sickness. She generally told me this every day, but sometimes she missed a day.  

   Who was it that took her food to her?  

   Witness – Mary McLeod and Janet.  

   And who cooked it?  

   Witness – It was me.  

   Did anybody tell you that what she got to eat did not lie upon her stomach?  

   Witness – No.  

   Did you speak to Mrs Pritchard herself about her sickness?  

   Witness – Yes, sometimes.  

   Did you say anything about the cause of it?  

   Witness – I used to remark that it was strange nothing could do her good, that nothing could take away or stop her sickness.  

   And what did she say to that?  

   Witness – She said nothing seemed to stop it. She told me that it was generally slops she was sick after. Nobody else cooked her food before her mother came except me. Her tea was generally taken to the dining-room in a cup, and sometimes it was put into the teapot in the dining-room. Mary McLeod always took it to the dining-room. During the ten years I had been in service before going to Carlisle I never heard her complain. Her sickness came on after my return in October. I think Dr Cowan came to see her before the return of her mother. He came about three days before the return of her mother. He came one day, and went away next morning, stopping all night. He went away with the evening train. I think Mrs Pritchard was in the drawing-room when he went away. The prisoner was also there. He had never been away from home so far as I remember during the time I am speaking of.  

   Did anything serious occur the night or the day Dr Cowan left?  

   Witness – It was either that night or the next that Mrs Pritchard had the first cramp.  

   Did you say she was cramped on the 1st of February, the night before you were to have gone away?  

   Witness – Dr Cowan was there before the first cramp.  

   But Dr Cowan only came a day or two before her mother?  

   Witness – Yes.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Do you remember when Mrs Taylor came? How long was it before you went away?  

   Witness – About a week before I left. Dr Cowan was gone after she came.  

   The SOLITCITOR-GENERAL – It was either that night or the night after, about the 1st of February, that she told you she had been insensible?  

   Witness – Yes. It was on account of that illness that I did not go away on the 2d of February as I had intended. That was the occasion of the first attack of cramp. On the afternoon of the day on which I was to have left I heard that she had taken sick in the pantry. She had gone up stairs after this, and after a time she rang the bell, and on my answering it she told me she had been insensible and had had an attack of cramp.  

   Do you remember about midnight one night of hearing an alarm that she had been taken ill with the cramp?  

   Witness – Yes. That was the second time she had so taken ill. I heard her calling out.  

   How did she call out? – She cried out that she was in trouble, meaning that she was in pain. The cries came from the top bedroom. She had been taken to the top bedroom from the spare bedroom. She had been in the spare bedroom for about a fortnight.  

   Was it before her mother came that you heard her cry out in pain?  

   Witness – Yes. I think it was before her mother came.  

   Now, just think for a little. Was it not the night Dr Cowan left?  

   Witness (after a pause) – Yes; I think that was the night.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Then you were confusing the two attacks together?  

   Witness – Yes.  

   By the SOLICITOR-GENERAL – I went up stairs when I heard her cry out. The doctor was with her. Mrs Pritchard was in bed, and she seemed to be under the influence of chloroform. She told me she had been taking some.  

   Was she much excited?  

   Witness – Yes, very much.  

   What state was the prisoner himself in?  

   Witness – He was quite calm, and sat by Mrs Pritchard.  

   Did Mrs Pritchard make any remarks?  

   Witness – She called for a doctor. She said she wanted to see Dr Gairdner, and wanted Mary McLeod to go for him.  

   In what state were her hands? – They were all drawn together with the cramp.  

   Was she calling for any doctor, saying she had sent for one before Mary McLeod came in? – I did not hear what she said. I rubbed her hands.  

   Did Mary McLeod bring Dr Gairdner? – Yes.  

   Did he come immediately? – Yes.  

   Did you hear Mrs Pritchard tell the doctor what was the matter with her? – She told him that she had taken some chloroform, and she did not blame the doctor; she did not like chloroform. When she said “I do not blame the doctor” she meant Dr Pritchard.  

   Did she say he gave the chloroform? – No.  

   Did she complain of having been sick? – No, she did not complain at that time. I did not see the marks of vomiting that night.  

   Did she have any champagne that day? – No. Any wine? – No. She was not in the habit of taking spirits of any kind; she was very temperate. I never saw her under the influence of drink.  

   When was her last meal on the day you heard her cry out? – I can’t tell anything she had on that day except a cup of tea.  

   By the SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did you remain with her that night? – Yes.  

   Did the prisoner remain with her also? – No; he was not in that room.  

   In what state was Mrs Pritchard during the night? – She was no trouble to me; she only slept a little. She complained of thirst, but her thirst was nothing remarkable. I gave her some water. Her thirst continued during next day, but it was nothing remarkable. I attended her two or three times next day. I was in the room often enough to see if she required drink.  

   Was anything got for her? – I just gave her water with a little ice.  

   Did she seem to be very weak during the night and next day – Yes, very. Dr Gairdner called on the following day, but I was not present at the time.  

   Then it was after Dr Gairdner’s visit – the last visit I refer to – that Mrs Taylor came? – Yes.  

   Now, I want you to think back upon the occurrences of that night on which you went up to the bedroom on hearing the cry, and tell us whether you did not hear anything besides what you have already told us, whether she said anything to her husband? – She said they were all hypocrites. She meant the doctors. She was very excited.  

   By the LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – She said that when Dr Gairdner was there. What were the exact words she used? – She said, “Don’t cry; you are all hypocrites.” She said that when Dr Pritchard stood bye.  

   By the SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did she say he had done it? – No, she did not.  

   Why was Dr Pritchard shedding tears? – I did not see him weeping.  

   You did not see him weeping or pretending to weep? – No; he stood over Mrs Pritchard at the bedside, but I could not see him.  

   Did you think he was weeping? – I thought so by what Mrs Pritchard said.  

   Was it when he was standing over by the bedside that she said, “Don’t cry?” – Yes.  

   To the best of your recollection did she say, “Don’t cry, you hypocrite,” or “Don’t cry, for if you do you are hypocrites?” – She said, “If you cry you are a hypocrite.”  

   By the LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Was that the time she said “You are all hypocrites?” – Yes; when Dr Gairdner and Dr Pritchard went to the fireside.  

   But that was not at the same time? – Not at the same moment, but two or three moments afterwards. The exact words were “You are all hypocrites together.”  

   By the SOLICITOR-GENERAL – When she said to her husband “Don’t cry,” did she say it was he that did it? – No, she did not. I heard nothing like that.  

   Before Dr Gairdner came, when she said she wanted any doctor, naming him, did she say anything about hypocrites? – No.  

   Now, a day or two after this Mrs Taylor came? – Yes. I think Mrs Pritchard was still in bed when Mrs Taylor came. She had not got up from the time I heard her cry at midnight. After her mother came until I left she was generally confined to bed. 

North British Daily Mail, Tuesday 4th July, 1865, p.3. 

[Continuation of Ms Lattimer’s testimony.]  

… I left on the 16th, after my successor came, leaving Mrs Pritchard in bed. I called back several times after this. It would be about a week after I left; it would be on the 22d or 23d February. I did not go to a situation in Glasgow, but was staying with a friend. I saw Mrs Taylor on the Friday morning; and I think she died that night or next Saturday morning. I heard of it on the Saturday. On the Friday, the last day of Mrs Taylor’s life, I called at Dr Pritchard’s house and saw her. I saw her about 11 o’clock in the forenoon. I saw Mrs Taylor, and went to take Dr Pritchard’s little girl out to walk. I asked Mrs Taylor how Mrs Pritchard was. She said, “Well, Catherine, I don’t understand her; she’s one day better and two days worse.” These were the last words I had with Mrs Taylor. She did not say what was wrong with her. She did not mention anything about her sickness. I saw Mrs Pritchard that day. Mrs Taylor herself seemed wearied, and not so well, I thought. She did not complain. She was up, dressed, and going about. Before I left, Mrs Taylor always slept with her daughter in the same room on the top flat, and acted as a nurse, as a mother would be expected to do.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – The prisoner did not sleep with his wife at that time? – No, sir. He went down stairs? – Yes.  

   Examination continued – After Mrs Taylor came she made some of Mrs Pritchard’s food herself. I did not make it at all. It was not my duty to take up Mrs Pritchard’s dinner and tea, so I cannot speak about these matters, but sometimes I took up a potato, of which she was very fond, as it agreed with her; and sometimes she got an egg. Anything she took was cooked either by myself or Mrs Taylor after she came. After this Friday, I called on Monday morning, 27th February – the Monday after Mrs Taylor died. That was the first time I heard of her death. Dr Pritchard was in the lobby when I went in. He said to me, “We have a sad house to-day.” The two servants were standing in the passage. I went past them, and asked him “What is the matter?” He replied, “Mrs Taylor is dead, and taken to Edinburgh.” I did not see Mrs Pritchard that day, but I did on the following day, Tuesday, 28th. She was just coming out of her bedroom into the drawing room. I went into the drawing room with her. She was very poorly. She was very emaciated and weak. She did not tell me anything about her health at this time. I remember preparing some tapioca for Mrs Taylor and Mrs Pritchard. That was a few days after Mrs Taylor came to the house. I can scarcely remember the day of the week. I cannot say it was on a Monday. Mary McLeod told me that Mrs Pritchard would like a little tapioca. The tapioca was bought from Messrs Burton & Henderson. I cannot positively say who brought it to me, but I think it is very likely Mary McLeod would do so. I did not buy it myself. It was in a paper bag. I did not notice whether the bag was open when it was brought to me. I made some tapioca. Mary McLeod took it up stairs. She said she was not to take it up herself, but that Mrs Taylor was to do so. I cannot say how long it remained before it was taken up. It stood about half-an-hour or twenty minutes in the dining-room.  

   Mr CLARK – How do you know? Mary McLeod told me that it was there.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did you see it there yourself? No, I cannot say I did.  

   Then you know nothing about it except what Mary McLeod told you? Nothing.  

   Did you speak to the ladies about the tapioca afterwards? No.  

   At this stage of the proceedings the Court adjourned for a few minutes.  


   Mrs Pritchard said it was surely not very good tapioca. I said the tapioca was rather thin made. I put nothing into the tapioca. There was nothing in it that I know of. I do not know of anything being in it except the tapioca itself and the water. I never put any injurious substance into the food I made at any time. The remains of the tapioca were put into the closet in the kitchen. Being shown a parcel of tapioca – depones that parcel of tapioca was what was found in the press by Mr Murray, the Sheriff’s officer, after the prisoner was apprehended. I was brought from Edinburgh to Glasgow, and going with the Sheriff’s officer to the press, the remainder of the tapioca was found in it, and it was given to Mr Gemmel, the Procurator-Fiscal, who was along with Mr Murray.  

   Cross-examined by Mr CLARK – The prisoner and his wife lived happily together, and he was attentive to her during her illness. (The prisoner here wept, silently, the tears falling over his cheeks.) I remember seeing Mrs Pritchard after Mrs Taylor’s death, and speaking to her about a nurse. She said she wanted no person, and that she didn’t like strangers, adding that it was her own fault that she had not a nurse, as the doctor (meaning her husband) wished her to have one. I am sure that Mrs Pritchard had an attack of cramp before Dr Cowan came. I think the first attack was before, and the second after he left. When I heard Mrs Pritchard call out at midnight, I and Mary McLeod were both down stairs. I went up first. I was in the room before Mary McLeod came in. When Mary came in, she was told to go for a doctor. Dr Pritchard was in the room when I went up. It was Dr Gairdner who was sent for. She had said nothing that I heard, till she told Mary McLeod to go for a doctor. She seemed in great pain, and under the influence of chloroform. She said nothing about “hypocrites” at this time, nor till after Dr Gairdner came. Dr Gairdner was in the room at the time. Mary McLeod and Dr Pritchard were also there. I heard and saw all that was done. Mrs Pritchard was very much excited during that time. When I got that bag of tapioca it was given to me by Mary McLeod. She brought it downstairs to me, and it appeared to me to have been unopened. After I made the tapioca I put the bag away in the closet myself. It appeared when found to be in the same condition as I had left it. It was just one making of tapioca that I left. I did not know that Dr Pritchard kept medicine in his consulting room. He generally gave recipes for medicine. There were bottles in the consulting room; but I don’t know what they contained. Sometimes the door was open of the place where these were kept, and sometimes it was locked. Dr Pritchard was not in the house, so far as I know, when the tapioca was brought.  


   Mary McLeod, servant with Malcolm Sinclair, blacksmith, Holmscroft Street, Greenock, sworn, and examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL – I am 17 in next October. I was servant to Dr Pritchard. I went to him on Whitsunday, 1863. I was housemaid and nurse… Between the time the cook went to Carlisle, and before Mrs Pritchard went to Edinburgh. She was sometimes sick and vomiting. She was often sick, but not so often as after she came back… She was sick some time after dinner, and some time before it. She had got better some time before she went to Edinburgh. There was no doctor attended her but her husband before she went to Edinburgh. She got a white liquid like milk before she went to Edinburgh. I got it from a doctor’s shop. She also got red powders. I ordered them by the prisoner’s direction. He gave me a prescription to get them. Some of those powders were in the house after the prisoner was apprehended. She returned a few days, part of a week, before Christmas. Her mother and eldest daughter came then and remained a short time. Sometime after she returned from Edinburgh she had an illness. She did not complain of sickness, and I did not see any signs of sickness immediately after she came back from Edinburgh. A few days afterwards Mrs Pritchard returned from Edinburgh, [I] saw her vomiting dreadfully, in the dining room, at twelve o’clock at night. Mrs Pritchard came up to the dining room to go to the pantry, and was there alone. Mrs Pritchard’s mother and daughter had retired to their bed rooms, and Dr Pritchard, too. After the others had retired to rest, I heard Mrs Pritchard go to the pantry and become sick. Mrs Pritchard did not speak, and [I] gave her hot water to wash her hands. [I] went up to her bed room with her, and saw her next in the morning, in her bed room washing. Mrs Pritchard was then a little better, and got up between 12 and 1 o’clock. Before that time she had got up at eight, at the usual time. Mrs Pritchard then looked ill. After this she was sick, not every day, but often – almost every day. Was generally sick between four and five in the afternoon, after dinner; the dinner hour was half-past three. [I] had seen her sick at other times of the day, sometimes in the forenoon, or about one o’clock. Mrs Pritchard commonly breakfasted about nine. Before Mrs Pritchard took to her bed she was sometimes sick during the night. [I] knew that, because Mrs Pritchard told [me] herself. [I] had to remove the slops from the bed room.  

   Could you see from them that she had been sick during the night?  

   Sometimes they would be emptied by the doctor.  

   How should you know that?  

   Mrs Pritchard would tell me.  

   By the COURT – You did not observe anything that led you to think she had been sick? How did she come to tell you that the doctor had emptied it?  

   There was nobody in the room but him to do it.  

   It was your own opinion, then; she did not tell you?  

   By COUNSEL – Did Dr Pritchard ever tell you that he had emptied the slops?  


   Did she frequently complain to you of having been sick during the night? – Yes.  

   By the COURT – When she was sick, she remained in bed from morning to night. Did she, upon those occasions, tell you that she had been sick? – Yes.  

   By the COUNSEL – [I] wondered when this sickness was going to stop. This was a thing that Mrs Pritchard said to [me] often.  

   Was she able to account for it by what she had eaten, or in any way? – No, sir.  

   When did she take to her bed permanently after her return from Edinburgh, so as to be generally there until she died? – [I do] not recollect. Mrs Pritchard had been confined to bed some time before Dr Gairdner was called in – a few days before. [I] remember Mrs Pritchard being taken ill when she was writing in the consulting-room… After that, [I] next saw her sick when she went to the pantry, shortly after she had been sick in the consulting room. This was about three in the afternoon, before dinner; it was not long before this that [I] had seen her writing. [I] went and saw her in the pantry. She vomited a good deal. She then went to the water-closet; it was on the top flat. She was weak, and needed help upstairs. I took up some hot water for her feet. He was out of the house when Mrs Pritchard was taken ill in the pantry. I saw him in the house soon after, when I came down from Mrs Pritchard, he having come in about the time. He may have gone up to her room before dinner, but I don’t recollect. He went up after dinner. She was put to bed with her clothes on. Her feet and hands were cold. There was nothing wrong besides with her hands… About 7 o’clock that evening I came in as Catherine was coming downstairs. Catherine went up stairs with the doctor. I was told to light the fire in the spare bed-room by the prisoner. I did so, and the prisoner carried her down to it. She was confined to bed after this a few days. I saw her during these few days, and she was repeatedly attacked with sickness. In attending to that spare room during these few days I saw what she vomited, and was sometimes there when she was vomiting. The vomiting was sometimes severe when I was present. The vomiting took place usually after she had something.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – From what you saw of her did you expect that when she got food she would afterwards be sick?  

   Mr CLARK objected to this question, and the Solicitor-General did not press it.  

   Examination continued by Mr YOUNG – Her food was taken to her sometimes by the doctor, and sometimes not. He sometimes took her tea to her.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did the doctor usually take her tea to her?  

   Mr CLARK objected to the question, which was not pressed.  

   Examination continued – I have seen the doctor take her breakfast to her, and also her tea.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Was it commonly the prisoner that took her tea to Mrs Pritchard, when she was in the spare bed-room? Did you, or Catherine, or the doctor, or anybody else take her tea to her? – Sometimes the one and sometimes the other. Sometimes he took it, and sometimes Catherine and sometimes me.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did Catherine take her food to her often or very seldom? – Did she take it oftener than you? – When Catherine was there she took it in, and sometimes I and sometimes the doctor took it. I remember the occasion before Dr Gairdner was called in about an attack of illness which Mrs Pritchard had had. I heard Mrs Pritchard cry out with pain during the night, I think after 12 o’clock. Catherine and I went up to the bed-room. Catherine was in the room first, but we were close together… We found Mrs Pritchard undressed, and in bed. She had been seized with cramp. She seemed to be in pain. She was excited. She did not complain of pain in any particular place while I was there, at least not in my hearing. She complained of pain generally. Her husband was there. He was attending her. He was putting hot water on her hands – both hot and cold water. He seemed quite well. He appeared to be very sorry for Mrs Pritchard; he was crying. I did not hear Mrs Pritchard say anything to her husband. Before I went away for the doctor I did not hear her say anything to him. He was crying. I heard her say something after I came back. I heard her say – “Go away for another doctor directly Mary.” It was after I returned that I saw Dr Pritchard crying. I am not sure but he may have been crying before I went away… When I came back I heard her say “Don’t cry, you hypocrite, it was you who did it.”  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Now, Mary, be sure that I have this correct – “When I came back from the doctor’s the prisoner was crying, and Mrs Pritchard said – ‘Don’t cry, you hypocrite, if you cry it was you who did it.’ Now, is that right?”  

   Witness – So far as I recollect that is right.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – That is what you said here, at any rate.  

   Witness – Yes.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Now I do not wish to press you on anything, but I wish you to remember as accurately as you can about this matter. Did this crying not take place and was what you have told us now not said before you went for the doctor?  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – You understand what is meant? We want to be quite sure when this took place, whether before you went for Dr Gairdner or when you came back.  

   Witness – I think it was after I came back.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did Mrs Pritchard only use these words once?  

   Witness – I don’t think I heard them more than once. Mrs Taylor came to the house a day or two after this event. Mrs Pritchard’s sickness continued. She was not attacked with cramp in her hands between the occurrence I have spoken of and Mrs Taylor’s arrival. After Mrs Taylor came Mrs Pritchard was confined to her bed chiefly.  

   And were you frequently with her? – Mrs Taylor slept with her, and attended her, but I continued as housemaid, and saw her several times every day.  

   Did you speak to her about the way she was every day? – I always asked her if she was better.  

   And what did she say? – Sometimes she said she was much the same way, and sometimes she said she was worse.  

   Was she sick every day her mother was with her, or commonly every day? No answer. Was she not sick every day her mother was with her? No answer. Was she sick most days – do you understand the question? – Yes. She was sick almost every day.  

   On these days when she was sick, was she sick only once a day, or more than once? – I cannot tell.  

   Did she complain of thirst? Yes, she complained of great thirst, of heat in her head, and pains in her stomach.  

   Was Dr Pritchard in the house all the while Mrs Taylor was there? Not all day, but he was living at home and took his meals at home. He had his dinner during that time about half-past 3, and Mrs Pritchard had hers between one and two when her mother was with her…   

   After Mrs Taylor’s death, who was in the habit of taking Mrs Pritchard’s meals to her? – The tea was generally taken up by the doctor or one of the children, or he sent me. Her breakfast and tea were sent up from the dining room, and after Mrs Taylor’s death her dinner was generally taken up by me from the kitchen. The sort of dinners she had after her illness was either chicken or fish.  

   Before Mrs Taylor’s death did she send you to a druggist’s to buy a bottle of Battley’s solution [opium dissolved in alcohol]? – Yes. That was just the Monday before her death. I bought it in Murdoch Brothers’, the apothecaries. She gave me the bottle to get filled. Being now shown a small bottle, depones – I cannot say that is the same one, but it was like that. I paid 8s 4d for it, and gave it to Mrs Taylor, with the solution in it. I saw the bottle after her death, or one like it in the bedroom.  

   Was Mrs Taylor in good health from the time she came till the day she died, or did you see anything the matter with her? – She was complaining. She began to complain shortly after she came. The first complaint I heard her make that day that she died was at about five o’clock. That was Friday the 24th of February. She told me between six and seven o’clock that night that she wanted to be sick and vomit.  

   Did she say what was the cause of it? – She said she thought it was being confined so much to the same room. She said she thought she had the same complaint as her daughter. She went into the consulting room to write letters after tea. She had tea in the dining room. The prisoner and the children were with her at it. The tea was going on in the dining room, and she was there. That was about seven o’clock. This was after she had told me that she had her daughter’s complaint, or was going to take it… When I saw her on the stair she went up to the bedroom where she and her daughter slept. I saw her next in the bedroom, having been called up by the ringing of the bell, perhaps a little less than half-an-hour after she went up. Mrs Taylor was sitting on a chair in the room, I think, when I went up. She wanted hot water to drink to make her vomit. I went for the water. Mrs Pritchard was in bed then. She took the hot water when I took it up to her. Mrs Pritchard told me to go for the prisoner. I found him engaged with a patient in the consulting room. He came up soon after – within a few minutes. The bell was rung again before the doctor came, and when I went up I found Mrs Taylor in the bedroom. She was not any better. She was worse the third time I went up. More hot water was wanted the second time the bell rung. I took it to her, and she got it and tried to vomit; but did not succeed – she only vomited a little water. The bell did ring a third time, and I found Mrs Taylor sitting on a chair, insensible, and her head hanging down on her breast; her eyes were shut. [I] think Mrs Pritchard had got up beside her mother. The prisoner was there in the room, and Mrs Pritchard was lifted into bed without her clothes being taken off by the doctor [or myself]. Mrs Pritchard herself was sick that evening before her mother came up to the bedroom, after she had had her tea. I forget whether what Mrs Pritchard vomited appeared to be tea or not. After Mrs Taylor was lifted into bed, she lived till past 12. Dr Paterson was sent for – that was before she died; he came between 10 and 11 o’clock. Mrs Taylor did not become conscious after she was put into bed; [I do] not think she ever became sensible or spoke again.  

   By the COURT – About 12 o’clock or so, she died upon the bed, just as she had been put down by the doctor and you, with her clothes on? – Yes.  

   At this point the Court adjourned at 20 minutes past 3 o’clock for a short time for refreshments.  

[My edits in the above are to counter for the random changes from 1st to 3rd person perspective by the reporter.]  


  Mrs Taylor’s body was removed on Monday. She had died on Saturday morning. After Mrs Pritchard being sick on the evening of Friday, she was a little better on Saturday and Sunday; in the afternoon of Sunday she was vomiting, but not on Saturday. Dr Pritchard was at home on both days, and went to Edinburgh on Monday. After Mrs Pritchard took ill, she was brought down to the stair pantry. She was sick on the Sunday after dinner; she dined at half-past four with two Miss Lairds, but Dr Pritchard was not there; he was in the dining room. Dinner was sent up from the dining room to Mrs Pritchard, and taken up to her; it was roast beet and potatoes. The doctor gave it to me to take up. Dr Pritchard left the house to go by the eleven o’clock morning train. I do not remember if Mrs Pritchard had her breakfast before he went. Mrs Pritchard was not ill after breakfast that morning. She got up before Mrs Taylor’s body was taken away; she went into the drawing room after breakfast that morning, but I do not remember if she vomited. Mrs Pritchard lived for about three weeks after her mother… I saw a good deal of her every day; she was sick almost every day, but not often two or three times a day – sometimes twice. Mrs Pritchard was most commonly sick after breakfast; she was sometimes sick in the afternoon, fully an hour after dinner. In the morning, when she was sick, it was about two hours after breakfast… I remember getting a bit of cheese from the Doctor one night for Mrs Pritchard’s supper. I think it was the week before she died; but it was either that week or the week she died. The bit of cheese was about one inch thick, soft, and new. I did not see him cut it. I took it to Mrs Pritchard, and saw her taste it. She asked me to taste it. I don’t think she ever asked me to taste anything before this. I tasted it.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Was there anything wrong about it? – The witness did not answer, although pressed by the Solicitor-General.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – What did it taste like? – The witness still gave no answer.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did it make you ill? – It did not.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – What did it taste like? – It tasted hot.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Do you mean like pepper? – Yes.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Anything more than the hot taste? – No.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did it make you very thirsty? – No answer from the witness.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL again repeated the question, when the witness at last replied “No.”  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Think again. Did it make you thirsty? – I don’t remember.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – No, no; but did it make you thirsty? – No answer returned.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did you become very thirsty after eating it? This is not a thing to be forgotten. Did you, after eating it, become very thirsty? – Witness – No.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Did you never say so?  

   Mr CLARK took exception to the course adopted by the Solicitor-General, and said that it was only legitimate if he was cross-examining, which was not the case here, as this was a Crown witness.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – I am not cross-examining the witness at all.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL again addressing the witness – Did you never say so?  

   Mr CLARK – Stop a bit; stop a bit.  

   Mr CLARK having requested the witness be removed, this was done. He then addressed the Lord Justice-Clerk, contending that, under a recent statute, it was not competent to put the question to the witness after the statement she had made that she had not felt thirsty.  


   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK allowed the question to be put, and the witness was ordered to be brought back.  

   The examination was resumed, and the Solicitor-General proceeded. He asked – Did the cheese produce any peculiar sensation in your throat? – Yes.  

   What was it? – A burning sensation.  

   How much did you take of it? – A small bit.  

   Did you ever feel the same sensation before? – No.  

   Did Mrs Pritchard take the rest of it? – No, sir.  

   It was left uneaten? – Yes.  

   After taking it, did you become thirsty? – Rather thirsty.  

   Do you remember getting some camomile tea from any body to take to Mrs Pritchard? -Yes.  

   Who did you get it from? – It was left in the bedroom by the Doctor.  

   Did you see him leaving it there? – I saw him taking it up.  

   And then you saw it in the bedroom after? – Yes. The witness further said – I was in the bedroom when he brought it in. It was in a jug. The doctor poured out some of it into a wine glass for his wife. He said to me “that was for Mrs Pritchard.” I gave it to Mrs Pritchard.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Was there any reason why he did not give it to her himself while he was in the room? – No answer from the witness.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Was it to be given at that time or afterwards? – When she wanted a drink.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – You gave her some of it? Yes.  

   Did she appear to be any the worse of it? She vomited it.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Immediately after taking it? Yes.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – When was this? The week before she died.  

   In the course of the week that she died, did you get some egg-flip [a drink] to give her? Yes.  

   From whom? From Mary Paterson, the girl who came to succeed Catherine as cook.  

   About what time of the day did she give it you? At night.  

   Where? In the kitchen.  

   Did you get the egg-flip in the pantry? Yes.  

   You found it in a tumbler, and you took it down to Mary Paterson to get water in it? Yes.  

   Who told you to get the egg? Mary Paterson.  

   Did you see her taste it after she put the water in it? Yes.  

   Did she say anything when she took it. She said “What a taste it had.”  

   What time of night was this? Between eleven and twelve o’clock.  

   Did you take the flip up to Mrs Pritchard? Yes.  

   Was the doctor in the room when you took it up? – Yes, he was.  

   Did Mrs Pritchard get some of it? – She did.  

   How much did she take? – About a wine-glass full.  

   How long did you remain in the bedroom with Mrs Pritchard that night? I waited till about four o’clock in the morning.  

   Did the prisoner remain in the room? – He did.  

   Was Mrs Pritchard sick that night? – Yes.  

   How long after she had taken the egg-flip was she sick? – Very soon after.  

   How long was she sick? – Less than half an hour.  

   At four in the morning, when you left Mrs Pritchard, you went down to Mary Paterson. How did you find her? She was sleeping when I went to bed.  

   Did Mary Paterson tell you whether the egg-flip had any effect upon her? She did not.  

   Did she tell you whether she had been sick? She told me she had been sick.  


… [Mrs Pritchard] died on the morning of the 18th of March, or Friday the 17th. I saw her first on the morning of that day. I asked her if she was better, and she said that she could not tell. She was in bed all that Friday. About half-past five o’clock that afternoon I was rung up by her bedroom bell. I went up, and met her before I came to the bedroom. She was out on the stairhead – the drawing-room landing. She was sleeping in the spare bedroom at that time. She had on her night-clothes.  

   What did she say to you? She pointed to the floor, and said, “There is my poor mother dead again – take her into the bedroom.” I went down stairs and called Mary Paterson, and she put her to bed again. She seemed to be raving. When we got her into bed she was quiet. She began to rub her hands, and she asked us to rub her mother and never to mind her. She was very cold.  

   Did she articulate quite distinctly – was her speech quite clear? – It was quite clear.  

   Did she become quiet or sensible when you were there? – She became quiet. The doctor was out at this time, and before her bell rung she had been in the bedroom alone.  


   When did Dr Pritchard come in? – The doctor came in soon after we had gone to his wife, entering the room just as I was coming out. I had not at that time been very long with her.  

   Was any other doctor sent for? – Not at that time. Afterwards? – Yes; Dr Paterson. I was in the room when Dr Paterson came.  

   Did you remain in the room during the rest of the night, until she died? – Yes.  

   When did she die? – I cannot tell the hour, some time about one o’clock on the morning of Saturday. The doctor was present at the time.  

   Was he in bed with her when she died? – Yes, sir.  

   And where were you? – I was lying sometimes on a sofa in the room. I think the doctor had on his clothes at that time. I was then to get mustard to make a poultice for her.  

   When you were lying on the sofa did you hear her speak to him? – Yes, I heard her say, “Edward get up; I feel very faint.” It was after that that I was sent down to the kitchen to get a mustard poultice. He asked me to go down, and she said “be quick.” I went down to get the poultice made, and when I brought it to him it was applied to Mrs Pritchard’s stomach.  

   Did she seem to be better or much the same? – She was no better. I was sent for another mustard poultice, and having got it brought it up to him.  

   And what did you find when you came back? She was in her bed when I came back. I went down three times, and when I came back she was dead.  

   The witness, who had throughout whispered her evidence, and refused to speak aloud, although continually urged to do so, became inaudible even to those close at her elbow, merely muttering her replies, and at times returning no answer whatever to the questions put.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK reprimanded her for speaking so low, and asked – When you brought up the mustard poultice what happened? I immediately went down and called Mary Paterson.  

   And when you came up what happened then? I found that she was dead.  

   By the SOLICITOR-GENERAL – How did the prisoner behave when it was found she was dead? What did he do or say? – He said she wasn’t dead, and he was crying, and spoke to her, saying, “Come back to your dear Edward.” He said a good deal more in the way of speaking to his wife, but I don’t mind what he said. Mary Paterson was there.  

   Did he say anything about bringing a rifle? – He asked Mary Paterson to bring a rifle to shoot him.  

   After her death and after this excitement did he leave the house? – Yes; he wrote a letter or two, and went out to the post. I heard him come in again, but at what time I cannot say. It was still dark.  

   What did he say when he came in? – I heard him speak to Mary Paterson when he came in. He said that Mary Jane (his wife) had told him to take care of the girls, but said nothing about the boys, and had then kissed him and went away. He said further, that she had kissed him at the front door, as he was coming in.  

   Had his wife ever seen the doctor using any familiarities with you?  

   Mr CLARK – Stop; I object to that question.  

   The witness was removed, and  

   Mr WATSON said the defence objected to the question as disclosing the intention of the prosecutor to follow up a line for which he considered no foundation whatever had been laid in the libel… Practically, it did not bear upon the charges, or, if it bore at all, it could only be as something suggesting, or suggestive of some kind of motive for the crime charged. Now, he had to submit, assuming that to be the view with which the question was put, that this line of examination gone into without any intimation to the panel, and about a matter which might be alleged to have occurred six months before the dates in the libel, was incompetent in itself and unjust to the prisoner… The Lord Justice-Clerk took the same view, and said that malice alleged to have been evinced previously to a murder must be specially set forth; six weeks was generally stated to be the limit, though in the case of a running enmity it might go further…   

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL said he would very gladly abstain from insisting up the question if he could convey to the Court the information necessary without doing so; but he could see no possibility of it.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – … It appears to us that the question has already been fairly raised here by the cross-examination of the prisoner’s counsel, whether the prisoner and his wife were at variance, the examination of both witnesses going to show that there was some secret misunderstanding, which I need not go into further at present. In this state of the evidence it is competent for the Crown, to say that the prisoner has given cause for the question being put.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL explained that the time to which this question related came within the period libelled.  

   The witness was then recalled, and examined in continuation by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.  

   The question was, whether Mrs Pritchard ever saw him use any familiarity towards you? She did.  

   What was that? No answer.  

   By the COURT – It is very unpleasant Mary, but at the same time there is no avoiding. You must tell us the whole story. What was it? He kissed me.  

   Where was the place? It was in one of the bedrooms was it not, and Mrs Pritchard came in just at the time? Yes.  

   Did she speak to you about it afterwards? I spoke to her.  

   When was it that this happened? Last summer.  

   What did you say to her? I wanted to go away.  

   What did she say? She would not let me.  

   The COURT – What did she say; what did she give you as her reason? She said she would speak to him – the doctor.  

   What did she say about him? She said he was a nasty dirty man.  

   When did the doctor first use any familiarities towards you? Shortly before this? Yes.  

   In the course of the same summer? Yes.  

   Did he get the better of you? No answer.  

   He got possession of your person, he had compaction with you. Yes.  

   Did you become with child to him? Yes.  

   And did you tell him? Yes.  

   And what did he say? The witness not giving any answer, although pressed to do so.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK said – Come away, Mary, you must answer the question. What did he say when you told him you were with child? He said he would put it all right.  

   Mr CLARK asked if the Solicitor-General meant to make this a criminal matter.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL was understood to say that he might think it to be his duty to do so; but that this conversation was altogether irregular.  

   Mr YOUNG – What did the doctor say? He said he would make this all right.  

   When did that happen? Last year.  

   Was that before Mrs Pritchard had seen him kissing you in the bedroom, or afterwards? Afterwards.  

   Were you delivered of a child?  

   Mr CLARK took exception to the question; but  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK himself repeated it; and no answer having been returned, his lordship again said, with some emphasis – Was then a child born? There being still no reply, his lordship said – Come away now, you must answer that question. Witness still declining to give an answer, the Lord Justice-Clerk asked – Had you a miscarriage? To which she replied – Yes.  

   LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – When did that take place? No answer.  

   Was that in the winter? No.  

   Well, when was it? Was it in the summer? Yes.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL, in answer to an interrogatory by the Lord Justice-Clerk, said the next question he meant to ask was, if Dr Pritchard gave the witness anything to produce that miscarriage?  

   Mr CLARK said that what that had to do with a charge such as this he did not know. That was a matter which the prosecutor could have raised by a separate indictment; but he had not done so, and he did not, therefore, think that the prosecutor ought to do anything in this way calculated to create prejudice against the panel.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL said that if it was material to the ends of justice that it should be shown not only the footing which Dr Pritchard maintained with this girl, but that in the course of their illicit intercourse he had used the knowledge of his art for such a purpose as they were seeking to establish here, it was perfectly competent. The bearing of it on other parts of the case might be of importance, not only for the prosecution, but for the defence; and it was a matter that fell within the consideration of the jury in looking at the whole evidence, and with reference to both sides.  


   After consulting with his brother judges for some time,  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK said – The Court is of opinion that this last question is not competent; but there is nothing to prevent the Solicitor-General from following up in the same line by other questions.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (to witness) – Did this improper connection between the doctor and you continue long after you had the miscarriage? No, not long after.  

   Was it continuing when Mrs Pritchard was in Edinburgh visiting her father? Had he connection with you then? A lengthened pause was made, but the witness made no answer.  


   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – You know the time that is referred to – when Mrs Pritchard was in Edinburgh. Had he connection with you at that time? It is quite indispensable that it must be answered. I must sympathise with you; but if you do not answer the question, I must try means to make you do it. Had he connection with you at that time?  

   Witness – Yes. (Sensation.)  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Had he also connection with you after his wife returned to Glasgow before her death? No.  

   Did he ever speak of marrying you? Another lengthened pause having taken place, the witness showing manifest reluctance to answer.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK said – Come away now, Mary. It will not take so long if you speak straightforward.  

   Witness – Yes, he did.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK and the SOLICITOR-GENERAL (at once) – Now, when was that? No answer.  

   The SOLICITOR-GENERAL – Was it more than once? Was it before his wife turned ill? Yes.  


   When he said he would marry you, did he speak of his wife? I don’t want to suggest anything to you, I want you to tell me yourself.  

   The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – What did he say about her? Did he say he would marry you if she died? Yes.  


   Did he give you any presents? Yes.  

   What was the first present he gave you? A ring.  

   Was that last summer? No.  

   Was it this year? No.  

   When was it he gave you the ring? Year before last.  

   What else did he give you? A brooch and a locket.  

   (Shown a brooch in the shape of an anchor.) Is that one of the brooches? Yes.  

   When did you get the anchor brooch? This year.  

   Was it so very shortly before his wife’s death? Yes.  

   In the same month that she died? Yes.  

   Did he give you his likeness? Yes.  

   Did he give you more than one photograph of himself? Yes.  

   Was his photograph in one of these brooches which he gave you? In the locket.  

   Was there a photograph in it when he gave it to you? There is not a photograph in it now; what has become of it? (Witness hesitated.) The Solicitor-General repeated the question – What became of it? I tore it.  

   I forgot to ask you when you were speaking about Mrs Pritchard’s illnesses, throughout from her return after Christmas until her death, was she afflicted with a violent purging as well as with sickness and vomiting? Yes.  


   Do you know whether Mrs Taylor on the last day of her life, was also affected in that way with frequent purging? Yes.  


   Did you tell the prisoner that Mrs Taylor used Battley’s medicine? I did not.  

   Did you ever speak to him upon that subject at all? No.  

[Repeated questions about the cheese and egg-flip already discussed. Witness also talks about the cupboards in Dr Pritchard’s consulting room and what kind of things were kept in them. She’s then asked about the prisoner’s marriage proposal.]  

   His Lordship here spoke for a minute with his brethren on the bench, and then turning towards the witness, said, Mary, look at me again, Mary. This is the last question you have got to answer; but if you don’t answer it I shall send you to prison. Now, you have to choose between these two things. The question you have got to answer is, what the prisoner said to you about marriage? Witness, in an almost inaudible voice – He said that when Mrs Pritchard died, id she died before him, he would marry me.  

   This concluded the examination of this witness,..  

[Discussion over whether they should adjourn for the day ends in agreement.]  

   This minute having been signed, the Court adjourned at half-past six till to-day (Tuesday) at ten o’clock.  

   During the whole of the day’s proceedings the prisoner maintained generally a composed aspect. Whilst the evidence of Mary McLeod was being led, he turned and gazed upon her steadfastly, looking with unabashed and unmoved front at her during the painful evidence relating to the familiarities between them and its result. His brother, who seems much more affected than himself, retained his seat beside him throughout the day.  

Well, that was quite the witness to end our first part of the trial round-up with, eh? A doctor ending a pregnancy, that had no threat to a mother’s life, at this time, was deemed a crime, hence the suggestions by Mr Andrew Rutherford-Clark, for the defence, that they could have made it a separate charge. I feel sorry for Mary but I think she probably enjoyed her time as the Dr’s secret paramour up until the time they were caught. So, things are not getting better for Dr Pritchard and there are a few days still left of the trial to go. We may see you back for it. Take care.

Narration by Jenny

Art by Alex

Intro-Outro by Tony ‘Lucky Dog’ Wilson

Greysteil by Paul Burns.

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