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Plead the Belly

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Death is like a box of chocolates

Death is like a box of chocolates

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As Valentine’s day approaches some of us will be getting chocolates and candies from our sweetheart. We at Plead the Belly urge you to be careful with those candies. There are several cases where a woman has poisoned chocolates and presented them to a lover or enemy.

One of the more famous cases was in 1869. Christiana Edmunds fell in love with Doctor Beard. Unfortunately for her, Doctor Beard was already married. Regardless, they began an affair and continued until the summer of 1870, when Beard broke it off. Edmunds did not take the news well and decided that his wife was to blame and that if she was out of the picture they could be together.

So Edmunds went out and stopped at three places. First, she bought a box of chocolates. After that she went to her dentists and asked for strychnine to kill cats (not a wonderful woman by any stretch). Her final stop was to see Mrs. Beard to deliver the chocolates.

The next day the women fell ill and later claimed that she suspected she was poisoned. At the time  Mrs. Beard didn’t seem worried about it likely because it was Victoria times and being poisoned wasn’t uncommon- either through ill means or not.

What happens next was strange. Edmunds started to buy more boxes of chocolates- poisoning them and sending them out anonymously to Mrs. Beard, to other people in town, to herself, some she even returned to the shop. Those chocolates were resold to new customers.

All this continued and no one seemed too concerned until a child died. The child had bought chocolates from the shop Edmunds visited and Mrs. Beard finally spoke up. Edmunds denied it, saying that she too had been poisoned and tried to blame the shop but no one believed her.

    She was put on trial in 1872 and found guilty. Initially she was sentenced to death but she ended but being moved to the Broadmoor mental asylum where she stayed until she died in 1907.

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