COOK, John Parsons, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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The last victim of the Rugeley Poisoner

COOK, John Parsons (d. 1855). Race horse owner and murder victim.
Autograph Letter Signed to T. Marshall, clerk of the course at Northampton, 1 page 8vo with integral blank, Lutterworth, 1 January 1855. Nominating his horse, Polestar, for the Nothamptonshire Stakes, and expressing regret that the 'Derby races' had been arranged for the second day at Lincoln.
Cook was to be the last victim of William Palmer (1824-1856, The Rugeley Poisoner). He had been in practice as a solicitor until he inherited a small fortune, whereupon he set out upon a wild and riotous life, and devoted much time to horse racing. In November 1855 he and Palmer, the latter in serious financial difficulties, had together gone to Shrewsbury races, where Cook won £3,000 when Polestar came first in the Shrewsbury Handicap. A few days later Palmer began to poison Cook, who, after much suffering, died on 21 November. Palmer, who had already poisoned his wife and brother, was convicted of the crime, and was hanged at Stafford on 14 June 1856. The case excited huge public interest at the time, and is even now celebrated (?) as one of the most notorious murder cases of the ninetheenth century.
[No: 21453]


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