Best Known For
Graham Young is best known as the Teacup Poisoner, responsible for the killing of at least three people in England.
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Biggs was eventually admitted to the London Hospital for Nervous Diseases, but took a long time to die, a cause of some frustration to Young, who recorded his displeasure in his diary. BHe eventually succumbed, on November 19, 1971, in excruciating pain.
This second death raised great concern within the firm. By this stage about 70 employees had recorded similar symptoms and there were fears for personal safety. The doctor on site tried to reassure staff,
by insisting that health and safety rules were being strictly adhered to, and was taken aback when Young challenged him in front of colleagues, quizzing him on why thallium poisoning had not been considered as a cause, considering that it was used in the photographic process. The doctor was surprised at Young's in-depth toxicological knowledge, and brought it to the attention of the management, who in turn alerted the police.
Subsequent forensic enquiries revealed the thallium poisoning—the first recorded case of deliberate poisoning by this heavy metal ever recorded. Young's poison conviction was soon unearthed, as were his collection of poisons, and meticulous diaries recording explicit dosages administered to individuals, and their reactions to the dosage over time.
Young was arrested in Sheerness, Kent, on November 21, 1971, where he had been visiting his father. A quantity of thallium was found on his person. Under interrogation, he admitted verbally to the poisonings, but refused to sign a written admission of guilt. He clearly relished the notoriety that his day in court would afford him.
Young's trial commenced on June 19, 1972, at St Albans Crown Court, and he was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and two counts of administering poison. Young pleaded not guilty, and seemed confident that he would be acquitted, as his previous conviction could not be entered into evidence, and he felt it would be impossible to identify him as the only person with the means to poison Egle and Biggs.
He was delighted at the media hype that surrounded his trial, and did his best to appear sinister, in an attempt to unnerve the jury and assembled gallery, but was reportedly less than thrilled with the sobriquet "The Teacup Poisoner," which he felt too parochial, belittling his skill and knowledge. He thought "World Poisoner" more appropriate.
Young had not reckoned with the advances made in forensic science in the decade since the death of his stepmother, however, and the effect that the reading of tracts of his diary, in which he cold-bloodedly lists the effects of his poisons, would have on the jury: He was found guilty on all charges on June 29, 1972, receiving four life sentences.
When the jury were apprised of his previous conviction, and his release as a "cured" mental patient only months before the crimes took place, they recommended an urgent review of the law regarding the public sale of poisons.
The Home Secretary also announced an immediate review of the control, treatment, assessment and release of mentally unstable prisoners, despite the fact that Young had been regarded as legally sane during his trial.
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