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Trenhorne, Lewannick, Cornwall - 1930

Sarah Ann Hearn was a widow who devoted herself to the care of her sick relatives. Her sister, Minnie, who lived with her, was a chronic gastric patient. An aunt had passed away a few years earlier, and Minnie’s own demise, when it came, was not unexpected. But then the painful death of a nearby farmer’s wife – apparently after consuming Mrs Hearn’s homemade salmon sandwiches – provoked local suspicion.
Was something more sinister going on? What had happened to the lonely widow’s supply of arsenic-based weedkiller? And who was Mrs Hearn, really?
A neglected story with all the intrigue and suspense of its better-known contemporaries, the strange truth behind the case of the Salmon Sandwiches has finally been unearthed.

Mango Books December 2021


The 1887 murder of Miriam Angel dragged the spotlight away from Queen Victoria's jubilee, and threw it upon one of the poorest areas in London's East End. Something had happened in Miriam's little room in a Batty Street tenement which contrasted starkly with the celebratory mood of the nation, and, whatever it was, it defied easy explanation. Israel Lipski, her upstairs neighbour, had been discovered hiding beneath the bed on which the body lay. She had been physically assaulted and extensively burned with acid; he had swallowed a little acid - too little to do much harm - and, when restored to consciousness, had a strange story to tell about a murderous conspiracy enacted by two of his new employees.
It was left to a jury at the Central Criminal Court, under the uncertain direction of Mr Justice James Fitzjames Stephen, to filter the truth from this strange array of circumstances. With the single exception of his own account of what had taken place, the evidence loomed over Lipski - it was his acid, bought from a shop earlier that morning; the door to Miriam's room had been locked from the inside; his employees knew little of him, and nothing of her. And yet, doubts lingered in some quarters. Perhaps Lipski had told the truth, and, if he had, trial by due process would find itself pressed for authority by an upstart competitor - trial by journalism.
This book reproduces the testimony given at the trial, together with an introduction, a chronology and appendices. After 130 years, can Lipski's mystery be resolved?

Mango Books 2017

THE A-Z OF VICTORIAN CRIME by Neil R.A. Bell, M.W. Oldridge, Kate Clarke, Trevor Bond

Few things are more evocative of Victorian Britain than its criminals; they are, together with railways, gas lamps and swirling fog, vital ingredients in any Victorian melodrama. The truth, however, was often stranger, more thrilling and more horrifying than fiction.
In this book, four eminent crime historians reveal the realities of this aspect of Victorian life, illuminating not just the criminals and their victims, but also the policemen, forensic scientists and others who rubbed shoulders with the nineteenth-century underworld. Notorious crimes – the Road Hill Murder, the Balham Mystery and Jack the Ripper – stand alongside long-forgotten, neglected cases; the most shocking and terrifying cases appear next to everyday horrors, some stunning and some merely sad.

Amberley Publishing 2016

THE MOAT FARM MYSTERY - The Life and Criminal Career of Samuel Herbert Dougal by M W Oldridge

Samuel Herbert Dougal was intelligent, talented, and the recipient of a military medal. Outwardly, he seemed to embody all that Victorian England valued most. But he was also a career criminal whose appetite for sex and money propelled him through scandal after scandal; through the courts, prisons and asylums; and from woman to vulnerable woman.
In 1903, the unexplained disappearance of Dougal’s latest inamorata, a wealthy spinster named Miss Holland, began to excite public speculation. A tireless hunt for the missing lady commenced, but, having been arrested on a sample charge of forgery, Dougal simply decided to wait it out. Meanwhile, on the outside, his real wife, Sarah, who had been the beneficiary of Dougal’s schemes over the course of a decade, had her own plans to escape official scrutiny. Would Miss Holland’s whereabouts be discovered? And who, if anyone, would be held to account for her disappearance?

The History Press 2012


Jack the Ripper’s brutal murders have left an ineradicable stain on the gloomy streets of Whitechapel and surrounding area. Disturbingly, his infamous butchery was just one of many equally deplorable atrocities committed in the area, which collectively cast a shadow over the history of London’s East End and shocked the nation as a whole.
Cases featured here include that of Henry Wainwright, tried in 1875 for the murder and dismemberment of his mistress, Harriet Lane; Polish-born Israel Lipski, charged with the murder of fellow lodger Miriam Angel in 1887; Myer Abramovitch, executed on 6 March 1912 for the gruesome double murder of Mr and Mrs Milstein at their home at Hanbury Street in 1911; and Harold Hall, who savagely murdered Kitty Roman with a penknife at Miller’s Court, Whitechapel in 1909, within sight of the room where Jack the Ripper’s final victim, Mary Kelly, was killed.

The History Press 2011


© M W Oldridge 2022