Victorian England had a fascination with the poisoner. One such was cross-eyed Glaswegian Thomas Neill Cream whose family moved to Canada in the 1850s, where he became a doctor in 1876.
After being suspected of several poisonings and finally convicted of murder in Chicago, he moved to London in 1891 upon his release. In that year he gave two prostitutes tablets laced with strychnine, going on to murder several more.
A murderer who advertised himself, he wrote letters to high ranking people, attempting to blackmail them and accusing them of the murders. This brought him to the attention of the police. Realizing he was being followed, he wrote to Scotland Yard, declaring he would soon reveal the identity of the ‘Lambeth Poisoner’. Soon the police gathered enough evidence of this sadistic, opportunist killer to arrest him. Always the self-advertiser, just as he was hanged in 1892, he shouted out ‘I am Jack the …’ Such words guaranteed suspicions that he was also Jack the Ripper, even though he was in prison in America at the time.
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