Broadmoor

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Christina Edmunds was born in 1828 to a respectable family. Growing up not much happened to Christina until she met Dr. Charles beard. Although he claimed they never had a sexual affair it is believed that they did indeed get together, even though he was all ready married. When he decided to break it off, Christina responded in kind by sending doctor Beard’s wife a gift of poisoned chocolates. In 1870 Mrs. Beard became seriously ill but recovered. Beard suspected Edmunds of poisoning his wife, however for fear of the affair coming to light he kept his mouth shut. If he had only gone to the police with his suspicions he may have stopped Christina Edmund’s poisoning spree. She would buy chocolates from the local stores and lace them with strychnine, then return the chocolates to the stores so the tainted candy would be resold to an unsuspecting public. She got the strychnine from a dentist friend, claiming it was to kill stray cats. She began to draw attention to herself for buying so much chocolate, so she started to pay kids to buy the chocolates for her. Several people in Brighton had become ill from eating the chocolates but nobody connected the illness with the chocolates. In June 1871, Sidney Albert, a 4 year old on vacation with his family, died as a result of eating the tainted chocolates. This however did not deter Edmonds from increasing her poisoning rampage. She started sending parcels of chocolates to prominent people, including Mrs beard again. She even sent chocolates to herself to deflect suspicion. But once Dr. Beard informed the police of his suspicions, he brought to light the psychopath that was Christina Edmunds. She was arrested and charged with the attempted murder of Mrs. Beard and the murder of Sidney Albert. Her trial began at the Old Bailey in January of 1872 where her mother testified that both sides of their family had a history of mental illness. She was found guilty and sentenced to death, however it was reprieved due to the mental state of Edmunds and instead she received life in prison. She spent the rest of her life in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, dying there in 1907. She became known as the Chocolate Cream Poisoner. Pictured above are Christina Edmunds, her weapons of choice, some newspaper clippings from the time and Broadmoor Asylum. Source Wikipedia

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Serial killer Peter Sutcliffe as a child. Sutcliffe was born in 1946, and would go on to become known as ‘The Yorkshire Ripper’ after he murdered 13 women over a 5 year period. Sutcliffe told police that he had been instructed by the voice of God to murder prostitutes. 

Despite being found legally sane during his trial, he was later diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and committed to Broadmoor Hospital, a high security forensic psychiatric unit. He remained in Broadmoor for three decades, and in 2016 a mental health tribunal found that he was no longer in need of treatment for any mental disorder. Consequently he was transferred back to prison where he currently remains.

The Silent Twins

Born in 1963, twins June and Jennifer Gibbons became known as ‘The Silent Twins’ as they refused to speak to anyone but each other. The twins created their own secret language through which they communicated.

In an attempt to get them to socialise with others, the twins were kept apart at school. Later, at age fourteen, they were sent to therapists, and separate boarding schools. These attempts, however, backfired, as the girls became even more withdrawn from society.

After their reunion, the twins spent the next few years shut away in their room where they performed plays for one another, wrote in their diaries, and inflicted harm on each other. Their diaries would later reveal an extremely dark side to their bond. They both loved, and hated each other.

One excerpt from June’s diary reads, “Nobody suffers the way I do, not with a sister; with a husband, yes; with a wife, yes; with a child, yes, but this sister of mine, a dark shadow robbing me of sunlight, is my one and only torment.”

Jennifer, born ten minutes later than June, saw her sister as better than her and grew extremely jealous. Sensing this envy, June wrote in her diary, “She wants us to be equal. There is a murderous gleam in her eye. Dear lord, I am scared of her. She is not normal … someone is driving her insane. It is me.”

After awhile the twins began committing crimes like petty theft and arson. It was this criminal mischief, combined with their severe social disorders that landed them in Broadmoor Hospital, a high-security mental facility.

The doctors at Broadmoor found the twins to be deeply disturbed and even dangerous. During a relocation to another facility, Jennifer, the younger twin, placed her head on her sibling’s shoulder, took her last breath, and said, “At long last, we’re out.” Doctors rushed her to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead. The cause of death was determined to be a sudden, lethal inflammation of the heart. However, during an autopsy, doctors did not find any drug or poison in her body and her death still remains a mystery.

June, the surviving twin later revealed that they had made a pact at Broadmoor: One of them had to die, so the other could live a normal life.

June and Jennifer Gibbons (The Silent Twins)

June and Jennifer were identical twins who were born in Wales. They earned the name “The Silent Twins” since they would only talk to each other. Attempts to separate them resulted in the twins becoming catatonic and overly withdrawn.

They were both very creative and each of them ended up writing numerous novels. They ended up turning to crime for creative inspiration. The girls committed a number of crimes including arson, which led to their being committed to Broadmoor Hospital, a high-security mental health hospital. There they remained for 14 years.

While they were at Broadmoor they began to discuss how one of them needed to die for the other to live on. Jennifer decided to be the sacrifice. After Jennifer’s death, June began to speak to other people. In an interview she said

‘I’m free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me.’“

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Kenneth Erskine , also known as the “Stockwell strangler” , is a British serial killer. Like most murderers , Erskine had a bad childhood. His parents abandoned him , he attended various special schools and by age 12 , he was homeless. His crimes , at first , were minor. He would commit burglaries , he was so successful at this that he was able to open 10 bank accounts with the proceeds. 

In the space of just over 3 months , Kenneth is confirmed to have murdered 7 elderly people , though he is suspected of killing four more. He would break into their homes , strangle them and, sometimes , sexually assault them. In many of his later murders , he stole money and possessions from their homes. Erskine was caught when a victim managed to sound an alarm whilst he was being throttled. A psychological evaluation of Kenneth showed that he has a mental age of a seven year old , while also suffering from schizophrenia and anti social personality disorder. He was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in Broadmoor hospital , and charged with manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. During his trial he was caught masturbating , he fell asleep several times and also started to snore.

  During his time in Broadmoor Hospital , where he still resides , he has been attacked on several occasions , one of these incidents includes a patient attacking him with a home-made blow torch. He has made “friends” with Yorkshire ripper Peter Sutcliffe , and came to his rescue when a patient started to strangle him with a pair of headphones. Kenneth is unlikely to be released before 2028.

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Images of serial killer Robert Napper as a child with his siblings. Napper earned the name the ‘Plumstead Ripper’ in his adulthood when he raped, murdered and mutilated three victims. The most notable murder he committed occurred in Plumstead, where he stabbed and killed 27 year old Samantha Bissett, before targeting her four year old daughter. The daughter, Jazmine, was sexually assaulted before she was smothered to death.

Napper was arrested and charged for these murders but was convicted only of manslaughter. The reason for this was that Napper was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, as well as being found to have Asperger’s syndrome. This lead to hospitalisation in Broadmoor for an indefinite period of time.

In July 1992, 23 year old Rachel Jane Nickell was brutally murdered after being sexually assaulted, stabbed a total of 49 times and mutilated. Her 2 year old son, Alex, was with her at the time and, although he remained unharmed, was discovered clinging to his mother’s lifeless body after witnessing the entire attack.

Later that same year, a man named Colin Stagg who frequently walked his dog in the same area was named as a suspect, despite a lack of evidence linking him to the crime. In order to coerce him into confessing, the police set up a ‘honey trap’ in which a female officer disguised herself as a woman with an interest in Satanism and made contact with Stagg. However, despite being subtly prompted by an undercover decoy, he did not admit to committing any crime. A judge later condemned this course of action by the police, labelling it as “deceptive conduct of the grossest kind.” After this point, the case began to turn cold. In 2000, the case was again reviewed and authorities began to acknowledge that the perpetrator could be linked to other criminal offences. Additionally, the victim’s clothing was sent for testing once more. The availability of DNA technologies had since emerged, which allowed certain articles of clothing to now be examined which previously could not be. A sample of tape which had been attached to Rachel’s skin was found to contain male DNA, despite being kept in storage as evidence for 12 years. This was enough to rule out close family members.

Attention turned to a man named Robert Napper, a convicted murderer and rapist already renowned for the 1993 killing of a woman and her daughter in similar circumstances. After this incident, police had seized a red painted toolbox from his possession which was tested after tiny flecks of red paint were found in a sample of Nickell’s son’s hair. The red paint coating the toolbox and the flecks found in Alex’s hair proved to be a match. In November 2007, Napper was charged with the murder of Rachel Nickell and detained indefinitely at Broadmoor Hospital the following year, which has housed the likes of Peter Sutcliffe, Charles Bronson and Ronnie Kray. Colin Stagg received £706,000 in compensation after being wrongfully implicated and publicly outed as a murderer.

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These are a few of the cool rocks I found at the rock shop located at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Top left is a Tiger Iron table from Australia, 1.6 billion years old, top right is a Blue agate end table(my favorite color), middle is a fossil bed writing table, bottom left is a pyrite dollar in matrix, and finally bottom left is pyrite and quartz on a sphalerite matrix. All so cool and so expensive.

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The Schizophrenic Murdering Artist

Richard Dadd was a young British painter of huge promise who fell into mental illness while touring the Mediterranean in the early 1840s. He spent over forty years in lunatic asylums, dying at Broadmoor in 1886. During that time he painted, producing mesmerizingly detailed watercolors and oil paintings of which The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke is now the most well known.

Among the symptoms of Dadd’s illness – which sounds today like a form of schizophrenia – were delusions of persecution and the receipt of messages from the Ancient Egyptian deity Osiris. Dadd was commanded to kill his father and did so in the summer of 1843. After an equally well planned escape to France, the artist was eventually admitted to the Criminal Lunatic department of Bethlem Hospital in Lambeth (now the Imperial War Museum) and it was here that he painted the Fairy Feller. According to the inscription on the back of the canvas it took him nine years to complete, between 1855 and 1864.

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Graham Young - The Teacup Poisoner

Murder by poison is a popular theme in crime novels and TV dramas, but fortunately it is rarely used in modern times due to the regulation of poisonous materials and the fact it is relatively easy to detect. However, a few cases of serial poisoning stand out amongst others - enter Graham Young, who murdered his stepmother with poison at fourteen and killed two others after he was released from prison.

Graham Young had a mostly average, loving upbringing in his aunts house in London, as his mother had died from tuberculosis just months after his birth. He exhibited a shrewd intelligence from an early age and showed a particular flair for chemistry - by age seven he was totally obsessed with poisons and their effects, even creating his own home-made version of rat bait using the deadly belladonna plant.

At the age of fourteen, Young began secretly dosing his family members with antimony, a heavy metal that can be broken into small grains and dissolved. Young managed to convince a chemist he needed the antimony for a school experiment, and within weeks of her first dose Young’s stepmother, Molly, became violently ill. After a few days of excruciating stomach pains and vomiting, Molly collapsed in the front garden and died. A friend of the Young family knew of Graham’s obsession with poison, so she called the police.

He was arrested on May 23, 1962, and in addition to the murder of his stepmother, Young confessed to trying to kill his father, sister, and best friend with antimony. The psychiatrist who examined him was adamant Graham did not bear his victims any ill will, he was just so enamoured with poison he would do anything to witness its effects. The fact Graham accidentally poisoned himself a few times before Molly died convinced the judge he was mentally unstable, and he was sent to Broadmoor Hospital. At the age of fourteen, Young was the youngest ever patient.

His years at Broadmoor passed mostly without incident, but the staff began to notice that patients seemed to mysteriously fall ill after accepting a cup of tea from Graham. Once a packet of sugar soap was found in a full kettle of water, and Graham was caught several times trying to extract cyanide from laurel leaves in his cell. He begged his doctors to buy him boxes of matches, but they soon stopped after they discovered he was using the poisonous phosphorus coating on the matchsticks to poison rats.

Graham Young spent nine years in Broadmoor; he managed to convince its head doctor he was totally cured and had found religion, and was recommended to the Parole Office as an “exceptional young man”. He quickly found a job as a clerk in a laboratory in Bovington, near Hertfordshire. His employers were not made aware of the nature of his previous conviction, and Graham lied and told his boss he had been in Broadmoor for extended mental breakdowns.

Just weeks after he was hired, in January 1971, Young’s coworkers at the laboratory began to fall mysteriously sick. Young had seemed eager to ingratiate himself to his new workmates, and began a habit of bringing people cups of tea at regular intervals. Those cups of tea were laced with thallium, another heavy metal poison that can be cut into small chips. Just three chips of thallium can cause unbearable nausea, hair loss, hallucinations, and blindness lasting hours. Young did not target anyone in particular for his ‘experiments’ - just people kind enough to accept a cup of tea. Graham kept a meticulous diary of the doses he administered and the symptoms he observed, referring to his human guinea pigs only by their initials.

In April Young fatally poisoned his foreman, Bob Egle, with a thallium-loaded cup of tea. The foreman had been rushed to hospital when he collapsed in the lunchroom, but Egle died during the night. The doctors diagnosed a virus, and no investigation was launched. Young continued to keep poisoning his co-workers, who all believed they had contracted the mysterious 'Bovington Bug’ that killed Egle. He preferred to dose his victims gradually so their symptoms and recovery (if they ever did recover) could be recorded in his diary. When it was found by police later, the diary had detailed descriptions of the poisoning of at least seventy people, most of whom worked with Young at the lab.

In October 1971 another one of Young’s bosses suddenly died - Fred Biggs, who had previously been a strong and hearty man, died in agony after being sick for three weeks. The bosses of the lab were worried that a chemical leak could have made the men sick, so they hired private investigators to inspect the lab. They found nothing untoward, but as they were leaving Graham Young approached them and said the deaths of Egle and Biggs looked like thallium poisoning. When the investigators asked him to explain, they were shocked to hear Young’s wide knowledge of poisons and their effects. They went to his new boss and told him of Young’s suspicious statements - he rang the police and asked them to do a background check on one Graham Young. The response was shattering - not only was Young a convicted criminal, but he had poisoned his own stepmother at fourteen!

Young was arrested on 21 November 1971. He coldly denied murdering anybody, even when vials of thallium and antimony were found stitched into the lining of his coat. The diary that he recorded the doses was simply a fantasy, he claimed. The fact all the deaths and illnesses had occurred after he was hired was a mere coincidence, he insisted. Young did, however, incriminate himself when he suggested thallium could have killed Bob Egle and Fred Biggs.

Young pled not guilty to murder at his trial, and frequently complained that he should have committed suicide with poison when he saw the police were going to arrest him. The court did not believe his weak protests of innocence and convicted him on two counts of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

While incarcerated in Parkhurst Prison Young allegedly became friends with Ian Brady, the infamous 'Moors Murderer’, and the two would sometimes play chess. Graham was thrilled when Madame Tussaud’s created a wax figure of him (top picture) for their Chamber of Horrors exhibit. He died in 1990 of a heart attack.

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On 15 July 1992, 23-year-old Rachel Nickell, was walking on Wimbledon Common with her 3-year-old son, Alexander when she was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death. A passer by discovered the body and little Alexander holding to his mother repeating “wake up, mummy”. The little boy had placed paper on his mother as a make shift bandage to try and cover the wounds. The case remained unsolved until 2007, when more advanced forensic techniques were available. Robert Napper, an inmate in Broadmoor, was found guilty of her murder. He was in Broadmoor for killing Samantha Bisset and her 4-year-old daughter, Jazmine, just 16 months after the murder of Nickell. He is being held indefinitely at Broadmoor.

I live fairly close to a famous psychiatric hospital which is also for the criminally insane… now you might think this is cool and I’m not going to lie, I think it’s cool but…

Every Monday around 10 am you can hear the sirens, when they’re practising for a possible emergency and schools from time to time do practices, have a mock lock down, just so everyone knows what to do in case someone escapes.

And yes that is all good… just every Monday I freak out a little, thinking what if you hear the sirens another time, when you’re not supposed to…

And a few minutes ago, I swear I heard the sirens but… I’m sure I just hallucinated… or I really hope so…