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The Walton Poisonings

Tracey Bennett

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Does anyone do ghost tours in Warrington? If not, they should. Here's another gruesome Victorian tale.




But her sentence was commuted. "under circumstances which are fresh in the recollection of the public" Ummm, no they're not!




I've struggled to find anything out about this family or why her sentence was reduced, maybe someone else will be more successful!

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Seems insuring your kids against death and also for burial and then killing them for the payout happened quite often from the 1840's particularly in families where money was very tight and one less mouth to feed and a bit of extra cash would have been a 'blessing'. Insurance frauds like this went of until the late 1870's I think. How awful is that :(


A quick google shows her kids (Sarah and Lydia) were aged 1 and 9 apparently when she killed them... but then again maybe they ate the arsenic themselves if the neighbour had been given some to kill vermin and just left it out. I guess not but it would make me feel better.


There is mention to her killing her kids on and old parliamentary site and where they seem to be discuss the faults of insurance companies and also those supplying 'inaccurate' death certificates. Maybe she got a lighter sentence because of the debates about insurance companies and burial clubs ? Ellen's lot were insured with the Prudential Assurance Company, as well as two burial clubs.


Ellen Johnson lived with Edward Heesom 'as his wife' in Walton Inferior so I'm guessing that means they were not legally married.


Sorry my computer is now grinding to almost an unusable state and I can't even cut and paste things let alone much else.


Time for a fix me thinks... back in a bit :D

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I have recently had a look at Millbank on wikipedia & it had a relatively short life due to various construction problems & in the end Pentonville was built to replace it. Wikipedia states that in 1870 Millbank became a military prison & Mrs Heesom didn't get sent there till 1876 so does anyone know if the defendant or the crime had any military connections ?

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