Elizabeth Wood for the murder of James Simister 1784
Elizabeth Wood lived with her husband and a lodger, Fanny Tomlinson, near Stockport. Initially after being accused at the inquest, both women were held in Chester Castle, but the case against Fanny was dropped, leaving Elizabeth to face the charge of murder alone.
She had baked a veal pie for Simister, and had been shown to have bought arsenic recently. The body of James Simister was found to have contained a rough powder, which would be proved to be arsenic, according to early tests. The only thing that seemed to be missing was the apparent lack of motive.
After being sentenced, Wood ‘pleaded her belly’, despite being 42 years of age, and managed to convince the court to delay the sentence being carried out, for six months.