Mad or Bad: Crime and Insanity in Victorian Britain

Mad or Bad: Crime and Insanity in Victorian Britain

by David J. Vaughan

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In a violent 19th century, desperate attempts by the alienists - a new wave of 'mad-doctor' - brought the insanity plea into Victorian courts. Defining psychological conditions in an attempt at acquittal, they faced ridicule, obstruction - even professional ruin - as they strove for acceptance and struggled for change. It left 'mad people' hanged for offenses they could not remember, and bad people freed on unscrupulous pleas.Written in accessible language, this book - unlike any before it - retells twenty-five cases, from the renowned to obscure, including an attempt to murder a bemused Queen Victoria; the poisoner Dove and the much-feared magician; the kings former wet-nurse who slaughtered six children; the worst serial killer in Britainand more.A Who's Who introduces the principal players - lifesaving medics, like Maudsley and Bucknill; intransigent lawyers like Bramwell and Parke., while a convenient Glossary of terms and conditions: ranging from Insane on Arraignment to Her Majestys Pleasure, Ticket of Leave to Burden of Proof, helps to explain the outcomes of the cases.Insanity Conditions presents, in glossary format, the diagnosed maladies put forward in court. Rarely accepted, more often rejected, by those keen on justice in its traditional form. A History of Debate explains the titular subject - through graspable language and a window in time. How the ones found 'not guilty on the grounds of insanity' were curiously handled in Victorian law.A chapter devoted to madness and women - from hysteria to murder, monthly madness to crime. Raising opportune questions about the issue of gender, and exposing the truths of a masculine world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473864153
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Limited
Publication date: 01/30/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 350,921
File size: 15 MB
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About the Author

David J. Vaughan, former Assistant County Archaeologist in heritage-rich Wiltshire, is now a full-time author, historian, speaker and radio & TV presenter; writing fact, fiction and screenplays, mostly based in the past. His blog, Mad, Bad or Desperate has inspired this volume, gaining thousands of hits from all over the world. Though rarely not writing, he indulges his passions: house restoration and the famed Merseyside club who play their football in blue!

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Introduction viii

Glossary of Terms xi

Part 1 Who's Who 1

Part 2 Insanity Conditions 9

Part 3 History of Debate 15

Part 4 Mad Women, Bad Women 21

Part 5 Case Histories 28

'A very great danger to society' William Allnutt 28

'The nasty black cloud' Joseph Baines 34

Triple Jeopardy Edwin Bates 38

Blyth's Spirits Isabella Blyth 43

The Notorious 'Nanny' Martha Brixcy 48

Brough Justice Mary Ann Brough 55

A Known Road to Ruin Thomas 'Ransome' Collins 59

The Evils of Drink Thomas Mary Cruse 64

Unfit to Plead David Davies the Elder 69

'Bad boy … bad man' William Dove 73

Britain's Worst Serial Killer Amelia Dyer 84

A Sleep-Walk into Hell Simon Fraser 92

A Gallop to the Gallows Mary Gallop 97

Arresting your Demons Louis Henry Goule 102

'A most barbarous murder' Moses Hatto 108

A Miscarriage of Justice? John Howison 115

'It was worth being shot at …' Roderick Maclean 120

'She had better speak the truth' Hannah Moore 126

Hell Hath No Fury Jane Parnell 131

A Lunatic in Charge of the Asylum James Pownall 137

Insane on Arraignment Richard Pritchard/Rebecca Turton 141

'I have killed her - I have made her happy' Amelia G. Snoswell 148

A Very Victorian Error? Celestina Sommer 152

'He did not know it was wrong to kill' Charles Westron 158

No Victim, No Crime? Yates Parkes 164

Appendix 1 List of Statutes 168

Appendix 2 Selected Key Events 170

Appendix 3 The Rules 171

Appendix 4 Early Forensics 172

Bibliography 177

Index 182

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