The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
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Bingham Poison Case, The
Historically, the Bingham family have been the official custodians of Lancaster Castle, in England. William Hodges Bingham, patriarch of the clan, served as chief caretaker for three decades prior to his death, in January 1911, thereafter succeeded by his son, James. Soon after his appointment, James brought sister Margaret to work as a housekeeper in the castle, but her stay was short-lived, ending with her untimely death a few weeks later.
Margaret was replaced, in turn, by half-sister Edith Agnes Bingham, a shrewish backbiter who quickly rubbed James the wrong way. They quarreled incessantly, and James made plans to ease her out of the position. A replacement had been scheduled to arrive on August 14, 1911, but plans abruptly changed on August 12, when James collapsed and died.
Police discovered that his final meal had been a steak, prepared by Edith, and an autopsy revealed that James had died from arsenic. When Margaret and William Bingham were exhumed, more arsenic was found, and Edith faced a charge of triple murder, based upon a theory that she killed her relatives to gain a small inheritance. Her barrister reminded jurors that there was no concrete evidence of Edith using or possessing arsenic at any time. She was acquitted after twenty minutes of deliberation, and the case remains officially unsolved.
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