Death of a Baronet: The Lawford Hall Murder (Paperback)
  • Death of a Baronet: The Lawford Hall Murder (Paperback)

Death of a Baronet: The Lawford Hall Murder (Paperback)

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Paperback Published: 01/02/2011
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Early on the morning of August 30th 1780 Lady Anna Maria Boughton, of Lawford Hall in Warwickshire, went to her twenty-year old son Theodosius, seventh Baronet, to administer the potion prescribed by a local apothecary for the treatment of a long-standing venereal complaint. Within minutes, he was foaming at the mouth, his body convulsed in agony. Within an hour, he was dead. Suspicion centred at once on the concoction - which must surely, all agreed, have been tampered with - and out of the swirl of rumour and innuendo came the exhumation of the body, swiftly followed by the charge of murder levelled at Captain John Donellan, late of the British East India Company (cashiered), former Master of the Ceremonies of the Pantheon Pleasure Palace in London (bankrupted), husband of Theodosia (eloped), the young man's sister - and sole heir. Donellan was tried and executed at Warwick. But was he guilty? The furore the trial aroused, particularly the conduct of the judge, the notorious Francis Buller, raged for well over a century; with legal and medical experts joining the fray. It was featured in Dickens' journal "All the Year Round", and inspired a melodramatic Victorian novel. Drawing on the wealth of contemporary material, including detailed trial records, eyewitness accounts of the exhumation and execution, and Donellan's own posthumously published "Defence", Anthony Harris has unearthed much hitherto unnoticed material. In this, the first full-length factual account of this fascinating case, he puts forward alternative explanations for the young baronet's death and argues that the accused was the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice.

Publisher: Brewin Books
ISBN: 9781858584720

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