THE CASE OF GRAHAM YOUNG
By Tim Lambert
Graham Young was a poisoner of the late 20th century. Young was born in Neasden, London on 7 September 1947 but his mother died when he was few months old. His father remarried in 1950. As a boy Graham showed a great interest in chemistry - and poison. When he was only 13 he managed to persuade a chemist to sell him poisons like antimony and belladonna. Graham then began poisoning his family. Graham Young poisoned his sister Winifred with belladonna. Fortunately she survived. He poisoned his stepmother, Molly Young with antimony and she died on 21 April 1962 but at first her death was believed to be due to natural causes. Graham then began poisoning his father, Fred Young. Fortunately when Fred was taken to hospital he was diagnosed with antimony poisoning and he survived. Graham's odd behavior made people suspicious and he was sent to see a psychiatrist. He was so alarmed by Graham's fascination with poison he called the police. Afterwards Graham Young confessed to poisoning his sister and father. His stepmother had been cremated so he could not be charged with her murder.
Graham Young went on trial on 6 July 1962. He was detained under the Mental Health Act of 1959. Graham Young was sent to Broadmoor (a secure mental hospital). However Young was released on 4 February 1971 in the mistaken belief that he was cured. However Graham Young got a job as a storeman in a laboratory in May 1971 and he soon began poisoning his colleagues (by adding poison to their tea). The foreman, Bob Egle fell ill and he died on 7 July 1971. At first his death was deemed to be due to natural causes. Other employees of the firm kept falling ill and a man named Fred Biggs died on 9 November 1971. It was clear that something was wrong but Young attracted suspicion by asking the company doctor if he had considered heavy metal poisoning was responsible. Young had an amazing knowledge of poisons which made the doctor even mores suspicious and he contacted the police. A background search quickly revealed Graham Young had a history of poisoning people. Police also found thallium (a poison) on Young when he was arrested. At his home they discovered a diary in which he recorded doses of poison he had administered to people. The body of Fred Biggs was exhumed and it was found to contain thallium. Bob Egle had been cremated but thallium was found in his ashes.
Graham Young went on trial on 19 June 1972. He pleaded not guilty. However Young was found guilty of the murders of Egle and Biggs and the attempted murders of two other colleagues. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Young died in prison of natural causes on 1 August 1990. He was 42.
Mary Ann Cotton, arsenic poisoner