Did she kill him byKate Colquhoun is the story of a Victorian scandal of sex and poisoning. Colquhoun revisits the Maybrick murder case – a sensational mystery that obsessed the Victorian British public in its day.
In 1899 Florence, a southern belle from Alabama, stood trial for the murder of her husband, James Maybrick, a Liverpool cotton-broker, 23 years her senior. Both had affairs (James a long term mistress in London) leading to violent rows and divorce was not an easy option, almost impossible for a woman in those days.
Maybrick was a hypochondriac and he bought arsenic on a regular basis and was also prescribed various ‘poisons’ by doctors. Before his death, Florence also purchased 12 dozen fly-papers, soaked them to obtain from them arsenic, claiming later it was for her complexion. Maybrick’s health deteriorated rapidly and he finally died. They discovered at the autopsy a presence of arsenic in his system.
Florence was initially found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. She was reprieved at the last moment and served 15 years’ imprisonment. On her release, she returned to her native America, wrote her life story and died in 1941. She returned to this country once and that was to see the Grand National.