Forensic toxicologists, 19th century

Forensic toxicologists, 19th century

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Credit: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Forensic toxicologists. 19th-century illustration of British forensic toxicologists Alfred Swaine Taylor (left, 1806-1880) and George Owen Rees (right, 1813-1889) carrying out analytical tests for the 1856 murder trial of British physician William Palmer (1824-1856). Palmer was accused of using strychnine to poison his friend John Parsons Cook in 1855 for financial gain. Taylor, one of the leading toxicology experts of the time, found no direct evidence, but stated that it was his belief that Cook had been poisoned. Rees assisted Taylor in many of his analyses. The jury convicted Palmer of murder, and he was sentenced to death and executed by hanging.

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