On April 21, 1962, Fred Young went into his back garden. There he found his wife, Molly, on the ground and in extreme pain. His 14 year old son, Graham, was close by, watching.
Molly was rushed to the hospital and died that night. Her cause of death was a prolapse of the spinal bone. She had been in a car wreck the week before.
Graham suggested that the family have her cremated. They did.
Later, Graham would confess to poisoning her and many others, leading to the death of 4 people.
Graham was born on September 7, 1947 to Fred and Bessie Young. His mother died of tuberculosis when Graham was just 3 months old.
His father, overwhelmed, sent his 8 year old daughter, Winifred, to live with her grandparents. Graham was sent to live with his aunt and uncle.
By all accounts, the time Graham spent with his aunt and uncle was normal and he was happy.
When Fred remarried in 1950, Graham and Winifred came back to live with him and his new wife, Molly. This was a hard transition for Graham.
He withdrew from his family and did not want to play with other children.
As he grew older, he became fascinated with chemicals. His family said that he would tell them what the chemicals, in things life cough syrup, did to the body.
When he was 11, his father rewarded him for doing well in school by buying him a chemistry set.
When Graham was 13, he was able to obtain chemicals like antimony and arsenic. He began poisoning a fellow student named Christopher Williams.
When Christopher was bedridden, Graham realized that he could no longer observe the effects of the poison. He needed to experiment on someone closer to him.
In November 1961, he made a cup of tea for his sister. It tasted awful and she threw it out. Later, on the train to work, Winifred began to hallucinate. She had to be helped from the train and was sent to the hospital. There, it was discovered that she had been poisoned with Belladonna.
Fred immediately suspected Graham. He searched his son’s room, but found no incriminating evidence. When Fred asked Graham what had happened, he told his father that Winifred had been mixing shampoo in the teacups and that was what had made her ill.
When Molly died the following year, doctors did not deem her death as suspicious.
Soon after, Fred took ill and was taken to the hospital. He was suffering from antimony poisoning and was very close to death.
Graham’s aunt became suspicious and took him to see a psychiatrist. His science teacher found bottles of poison in Graham’s desk at school and took them to the principal.
The police were contacted and Graham was arrested on May 23, 1962. He was taken to Broadmoor Hospital where he was diagnosed with personality disorder and schizophrenia.
He was ordered to be detained for 15 years, but was released in 9 years, at the age of 23. The hospital psychiatrist wrote a letter saying that Graham was fully recovered.
It was later discovered that during his stay at Broadmoor, Graham had continued to study chemistry. He learned to extract cyanide from the leaves of the laurel bush. When John Berridge, another inmate at Broadmoor died, it was rumored that he had died from cyanide poisoning.
In 1971, Graham went to work at John Hadland Laboratories making lenses for military equipment. His co-workers liked him and he often surprised them with coffee and tea. Soon, people at Hadland Lab began to get sick.
The foreman, Bob Egle, was hospitalized and died on July 7, 1971. His replacement was also poisoned, but he quit before he could be administered a deadly dose.
Fred Biggs became sick and suffered for several weeks, losing his hair and a lot of weight. He died on November 19, 1971.
For a while, people were blaming the rash of sickness on a virus they nicknamed the Bovingdon Bug.
People at Hadland Labs were getting nervous, so a company meeting was called. During the meeting, Graham suggested that the sicknesses could have been caused by thallium poisoning.
A co-worker, who knew that Graham was fascinated with chemicals, went to the police. Graham was arrested on November 21, 1971. He had thallium in his pocket.
A search of his home found several poisonous chemicals and a diary listing each of his victims and their dosages.
People began calling Graham The Teacup Poisoner.
He was found guilty on June 29, 1972 and was given 4 life sentences.
He died in his cell on August 1, 1990 of heart failure.
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