FREDERICK AND MARGARET SEDDON

By Tim Lambert

Frederick Seddon poisoned his lodger, Eliza Barrow for her money. Frederick Seddon was born in 1872. As an adult Seddon worked as an insurance agent. He was married to a woman named Margaret and they had 5 children. In 1909 the couple moved into a large house in London. Frederick Seddon decided to rent the top floor of his house as a flat. So in July 1910 a 47 year old spinster named Eliza Barrow moved in. Eliza was quite a wealthy woman and she sought financial advice from Frederick Seddon. In 1911 he persuaded her to transfer her property to him and in return he would give her a fixed sum for the rest of her life. It was perfectly free but if Eliza Barrow died Seddon would be freed from making any payments to her - an obvious motive for murder.

And so in September 1911 Eliza Barrow fell ill. Finally on 14 September 1911 she died. She was 49. The doctor signed a death certificate giving the cause of death as epidemic diarrhea. Frederick Seddon then hastily arranged a cheap funeral. Eliza Barrow was buried on 16 September 1911. However relatives of Eliza Barrow grew suspicious and finally they went to the police. On 15 November 1911 the body of Eliza Barrow was exhumed and it was found to contain a large amount of arsenic. Finally on 4 December 1911 Frederick Seddon was arrested for murder. His wife Margaret Seddon was arrested on 15 December 1911.

Frederick and Margaret Seddon went on trial at the Old Bailey in London in March 1912. Frederick Seddon gave evidence in his own defense - against the advice of his lawyer. He came across as cold and calculating. He was found guilty of the murder of Eliza Barrow and he was sentenced to death on 15 March 1912. Margaret Seddon was acquitted. Frederick Seddon was hanged in Pentonville Prison in London on 18 April 1912. Margaret Seddon married again and she moved to California.

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