The Potton Poisoner, Wrestlingworth, Beds, UK
Posted by: bill&ben
N 52° 06.496 W 000° 09.866
30U E 694173 N 5776873
Quick Description: The final scene of crime of Sarah Dazley, the last woman to be hanged outside Bedford Gaol.
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/29/2010 8:03:34 AM
Waymark Code: WM9BZB
In this cottage on 30th October 1842 Sarah Dazley, known later as the Potton Poisoner, committed the murder of her husband William Dazley.
Sarah Reynolds was born in Potton in 1819. Her father, Phillip Reynolds, died in 1826 and her mother had several partners, none of which were positive influences on the young Sarah. Despite her trouble upbringing Sarah eventually settled down and married a local man Simeon Mead in 1838.
The couple moved to Tadlow and had a child. Unfortunately the child only lived for a few months. The death caused Simeon a great deal of sadness and large amounts of friction occurred between Sarah and Simeon. Unexpectedly, to the villagers, Simeon passed away a few weeks after his son, in October 1840.
Within a matter of a few weeks Sarah took up with William Dazley, a 23 year old labourer. Just four months after Simeon’s death Sarah and William were married. The couple moved to a cottage in Wrestlingworth to escape the rumours that were starting to circulate in Tadlow.
The relationship did not go well and William started drinking heavily at the nearby Chequers Inn. After one bout William hit Sarah in temper. Sarah used this as an excuse to spread a rumour that William was a wife beater. A few days after the incident William was taken ill with vomiting and stomach pains. Fortunately a doctor prescribed some pills and was able to cure William.
A few days later Sarah told one of her friends that she was going to get some more pills from the doctor, however the friend later saw Sarah throw some pills into the hedgerow. Sarah had decided to make her own pills for William.
William refused to take Sarah’s pills at first, however he was eventually persuaded to take them. In a short while William rushed outside vomiting. The next day an unfortunate pig was found dead nearby! William did not, however die immediately. After several more doses William succumbed on 30th October 1842.
The inquest found that William had died of an infection. The villagers had other suspicions, however, particularly as Sarah had taken up with a William Waldock shortly after William Dazley’s death and that this was the second of Sarah’s husbands to die. The villagers managed to persuade the local coroner to reopen the deaths of Simeon Mead, his child and William Dazley.
The coroner ordered that the body of William Dazley be exhumed and a further post mortem held. On March 20th 1843 a new inquest was held at the Chequers Inn, Wrestlingworth. The inquest concluded William Dazley had died of arsenic poisoning an arrest warrant for Sarah was issued. Despite Sarah running away to London, she was arrested and brought back for trial.
Sarah’s trial for the murder of William Dazley and Simeon Mead was held in Bedford in 1843. The evidence against her was considerable and she was soon convicted, the jury only taking 30 minutes to reach its verdict. Sarah was hanged at Bedford in front of a very large crowd, such was the weight of public opinion against her.
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