Although little Miss Mary Reeder was 20, everyone agreed she didn’t look more than 15. That was one of the reasons why she caught the lusting eye of Elias Lucas, 25, a farm worker. One thing, however, stood firmly in the way of Lucas’s ambition – Mary was his wife’s younger sister.

That didn’t seem to worry Mary. She enjoyed the attentions of Lucas so much that she readily fell in with a plot to rid him of his wife Susan and take over as the new Mrs. Lucas.

On February 21st, 1850, Mary prepared a meal – described as “a mess of bread and water” – at the Lucases’ cottage. Susan Lucas complained about the taste of it, but her husband said he’d eat it even if it killed him. Next morning, when Susan Lucas died, her doctor thought the meal could have killed her, and refused a death certificate.

A post-mortem revealed two grains of arsenic in her stomach – more than enough to kill. The police searched Lucas’s home and outbuildings and found a store of the poison – enough to arrest him and his young sister-in-law for murdering his wife. The two lovers were tried and convicted of murder the following month and hanged on Saturday, April 13th, 1850, outside Cambridge Prison.

Both confessed their guilt in their death cells.