THE CASE OF DR THOMAS NEILL CREAM

By Tim Lambert

Thomas Neill Cream was a notorious poisoner. His poison of choice was strychnine. Cream was born in Scotland in 1850 but his family moved to Canada when he was 4 years old. Cream studied medicine at Montreal and he left in 1876. In 1880 Dr Cream moved to Chicago and he began an affair with a married woman named Julia Stott. Cream gave her husband, Daniel Stott medicine laced with strychnine. He duly died in June 1881. At first his death was ascribed to natural causes. Cream might have got away with murder but foolishly he wrote to the coroner saying he suspected murder. Dr Cream told the coroner the pharmacist was responsible for the death. The body was exhumed and found to contain strychnine. Thomas Neill Cream was tried for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. However he was released after only 10 years in prison on 31 July 1891.

In October 1891 Thomas Neill Cream moved to London and he began killing again. His next victim was a 19 year old prostitute named Nellie Donworth. On 13 October 1891 Dr Cream killed the unfortunate woman with a poisoned drink. On 20 October 1891 Dr Cream killed a 27 year old prostitute named Matilda Clover by giving her pills. Then on 11 April 1892 Dr Cream murdered two more women, Alice Marsh aged 21 and Emma Shrivell aged 18. Before she died Marsh said they had gone out with a gentlemen who gave them 'long pills'.

Dr Cream attempted to blackmail a man named Joseph Harper. Cream claimed he had proof that the man's son was the murderer and said he would not tell the police if Harper paid him a large sum of money. Harper informed the police. Furthermore Dr Cream met a police sergeant named Patrick McIntyre. Dr Cream talked about the murders and foolishly he revealed he had detailed knowledge of the case. The police were suspicious and put Cream under surveillance. Dr Cream was arrested on 13 July 1892. His trial began on 17 October 1892. Thomas Neill Cream was found guilty of murder on 21 October 1892. Dr Cream was hanged on 15 November 1892.

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