“When I get out, I’m going to kill one person for every year I’ve spent in this place”
Graham Frederick Young was born in London on 7 September 1947 and, whereas other teenagers might experiment with sex, drink or drugs, his favourite vice was poisons. When he was 14 he began poisoning his family and spent his pocket money on antimony and digitalis, claiming that they were needed for chemistry experiments at school. His family was constantly ill and on 21 April 1962 his stepmother Molly died from poisoning. His father, sister and a school friend, Christopher Williams, had also been poisoned and his Aunt Winnie became suspicious.
Young even made himself ill on several occasions because he had forgotten which foods he had put poison in. Young was arrested on 23 May 1962 and admitted poisoning his father, sister and friend. He was not prosecuted for murder because the body of Molly Young had been cremated and so was not available for analysis. Young was sentenced to 15 years in Broadmoor, the youngest inmate since 1885, where he spent time learning more about poisons, before he was released on 4 February 1971. He told a nurse, “When I get out, I’m going to kill one person for every year I’ve spent in this place.”
He got a job at John Hadland Ltd, a photographic supply store in Bovingdon, Hertfordshire. The company received references from Broadmoor but they were not told about his record of poisoning. Not long after Young started work, foreman Bob Egle, 59, fell ill and died on 7 July. Young had been in charge making the tea and added extra ingredients of antimony and thallium to the brew. The workers nicknamed the sickness that swept the factory the Bovingdon Bug.
Some months later, Fred Biggs, 60, another worker, fell ill and was admitted to the London National Hospital for Nervous Diseases where, after an agonizing few weeks, he died on 19 November. Around 70 people fell ill because of Young’s meddling. In a bid either to get caught or to show off, Young went to the firm’s doctor and asked if thallium had been considered as the reason for the sickness, mentioning that his hobby was studying poisons.
Bovingdon, Hertfordshire, England
Wednesday 7 July 1971
On 21 November 1971 Young was arrested at Sheerness, Kent, where he was visiting his father and Aunt Winnie. In his pocket was thallium and the police discovered antimony, thallium and aconitine in his flat. They also found a diary in which he had entries detailing whom he had poisoned and with what dosages. He went on trial at St Albans Crown Court on 19 June 1972. After ten days, he was found guilty and was sentenced to life in jail. Young died of myocardial infarction in his cell at Parkhurst Prison on 1 August 1990, aged 42.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
In jail Young, befriended Ian Brady who said, “It was hard not to have empathy for Graham Young.”