Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The murder trial of Sidney Clay. Part II: 'I want you to get rid of this child for me'.

[Part I is here]

Gruyther and Sidney Clay's third and last conversation was on the 22nd of January 1883. As reported by the doctor, this was the most damning evidence at the trial:

Clay: 'I want you to get rid of this child for me.'

Dr Gruyther: 'What do you mean?'

Clay: 'I want you to put something in your medicine so as to slowly poison the child, and I will pay you any reasonable amount of money.'

Dr Gruyther 'I refuse to have anything to do with it.'

Clay: 'Why not? you will be handsomely paid; other doctors do it and no one is a bit the wiser.'


Dr Gruyther 'You won't tempt me to commit murder for any amount of money.'


1885 advert for a morphine-laced medicine
Clay 'How about the vaccination?'

Dr Gruyther 'The child is not in a fit state to be vaccinated, and if I did do it it would die.'

Clay: 'Then why not do it, it would be an easy way to get me out of my difficulty?'

Dr Gruyther 'If I did it would be murder.'

Clay: 'If the child dies in a fortnight or so will you give a certificate?'

Dr Gruyther: 'Provided there were no suspicious circumstances I should be compelled to give one.'

Clay 'If I call in a fortnight will you give me one?'

Dr Gruyther: 'You have had my answer.'

Clay: 'It would be easy to get rid of this child by putting something in its food or in your bottles of medicine, and I mean to get rid of it, and I shall call on you for a certificate.'

Dr Gruyther: 'If I suspect foul play I shall withhold it.'


Clay: 'You need not know anything at all about it, it will be done neatly and quietly, and after. You have given the certificate you can ask for what fee you like. I shall call in a fortnight and depend on you for the certificate.'

The boy Sidney died at two months old. 



[I'll post the final part tomorrow.]

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