“I’m Jack the…”
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Thomas Neill Cream emigrated to Canada when he was four years old. Moving to America, he qualified as a doctor. In 1881 he was jailed for life in Chicago after having been convicted of killing Daniel Stott, his mistress’s husband, with strychnine. Stott’s gravestone inscription reads, “Daniel Stott Died June 12, 1881 Aged 61 Years Poisoned By His Wife & Dr Cream”.
Life on that occasion meant ten years and, on his release, Cream moved to London and into Lambeth Palace Road. At night Cream would accost prostitutes and offer them his pills, which, he said, would improve their complexions. In fact, they were laced with strychnine and Cream returned to his home fantasizing about their death agonies. In October 1891 he murdered two women — Nellie Donworth, a 19-year-old prostitute, and Matilda Clover, a 27-year-old prostitute — and then had the audacity to complain to Scotland Yard that he was being followed and asked for a “reward” of £300,000 for naming the Lambeth Poisoner.
On 2 April 1892 he gave his poisonous pills to Lou Harvey but she only pretended to swallow them. Nine days later Cream met two more prostitutes, Alice Marsh, 21, and Emma Shrivell, 18, and gave them Guinness laced with strychnine. Both women died in agony. His downfall came about thanks to his boastfulness. He wrote to the police accusing two other doctors of murdering the prostitutes but in his letter revealed rather too much inside knowledge, including the fact that Matilda Clover’s death was suspicious when publicly it had been announced as natural causes.
When his home was searched the police found seven bottles of strychnine and equipment for making pills. The jury took just 12 minutes to find Cream guilty and he was sentenced to death.
Chicago, Illinois, USA; Lambeth Palace Road, London, England
Cream was hanged on 15 November 1892 at Newgate Prison. As he stood waiting to die, his last words, as the trapdoor swung open, were “I’m Jack the…”