This British doctor was caught up in one of the 19th century's most notorious crimes of passion. Dubbed the Rugeley Poisoner a reference to the part of Stafford, England, in which he lived William Palmer had allegedly been responsible for as many as 15 murders, including those of his wife, four of his children, his brother and his mother-in-law. The plot thickened as it transpired that he had run up significant debts and had taken out life-insurance policies on some of his victims.
His trial captivated the nation, and some 35,000 spectators crammed the streets of the town to witness his execution in June 1856 (like fans at a rock concert, some spent the night in the pouring rain to secure their places). It seemed the only person left who could love the man was his own mother, who supposedly commented, "They have hanged my saintly Billy."
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