Mary Ann Cotton's prison letters sold at auction

Mary Ann Cotton's prison letters Auctioneers said the letters were one of the strangest lots they had sold

Related Stories

Prison letters sent by Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton have sold for £2,200 at auction.

Cotton, of West Auckland, County Durham, was hanged in 1873 for the murder of her seven-year-old stepson.

It is thought she was responsible for the deaths of up to 20 others, mainly by poisoning her victims.

The letters, which make reference to solicitors and financial problems, were sold to a dealer at an auction in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.

The correspondence was addressed to a man who had lodged at Cotton's home.

Paul Hughes from Tennants Auctioneers said the auction was very busy.

"I haven't had anything in the past that has generated this amount of interest," he said.

Mr Hughes said it was possible the letters would be re-auctioned.

Cotton was caught when a post-mortem examination on one of her children revealed arsenic poisoning.

It is thought she killed three of her husbands and 15 of her children.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tyne & Wear

Weather

Newcastle upon Tyne

23 °C 15 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a writer accused of blasphemy must run


  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • Malaysian plane wreckage in UkraineFlight risk

    How odd is it to have three plane crashes in eight days?


  • Irvine WelshDeaf ears

    Five famous Scots who can't vote in the Scottish referendum


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Canada.Hidden rail trip

    Canada's tiny, two-car shuttle is a train lover's dream with scenic views

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.