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Die Westcountry Studies Library in Exeter stellt derzeit eine 1852er Kopie der „Poetical Works“ von John Milton aus. Das Buch ist in Menschenhaut eines Mörders gebunden.
A very special 1852 edition of The Poetical Works of John Milton was put on public display for the first time at the Westcountry Studies Library on February 26th as part of Devon’s Local History Day. As you might have cleverly deduced from the title, what makes this volume special is that it was bound in the skin of executed murderer George Cudmore.
George Cudmore, a short, humpbacked rat-catcher, was convicted in 1830 of poisoning his wife Sarah by putting arsenic in food and medicine. He claimed to have been driven to the act by his lover Sarah Dunn. Dunn confessed that she had seen him messing around with a white powder, that she had told him not to poison his wife as he would be hanged. He put it in his wife’s elder tea anyway and she saw him do it without stopping him. She said that even though she wasn’t actively involved in the murder, she did let it happen and she did live “in criminal intercourse” with Cudmore, so she felt she was equally guilty.
The jury disagreed. Dunn was acquitted and Cudmore convicted at the Lent Assizes in March, 1830. He was sentenced to hang, and to have his cadaver donated to the Devon and Exeter Hospital for dissection. On March 25th, George Cudmore was hanged from his neck until dead as Dunn watched.