Looking for an easy way to make money, Catherine Flanagan, 55, and her sister Margaret Higgins, 41, decided midway through their lives to go for the big insurance payout. One of the victims upon whom the sinister sisters alighted was Margarets husband Thomas, 36.
Throughout 1883 they laced his food with arsenic until, in September, he died. But the police got suspicious and started investigating. They discovered there had been another mysterious death in the household, that of an 18-year-old lodger, Mary Jennings. Her body was exhumed and it too contained arsenic.
The sisters were also suspected of poisoning Mrs. Higginss 10-year-old stepdaughter Mary and one of Mrs. Flanagans sons, John, 22. Each time there was a death they collected on the insurance money.
After a three-day trial in February 1884, they were both convicted of murder and hanged on Monday, March 3rd that year at Liverpools Kirkdale Prison. Police inquiries that continued after the double execution suggested that the sisters might have poisoned several other family members, friends and lodgers, for the small insurance payouts.