Skip to content

8 What was he poisoned with? Cowan, Hicks and Cleland.

Robert James Cowan – Deputy Govt Analyst

“I carried out analysis of those specimens (stomach and contents, liver and muscle, urine and blood) but was unable to find signs of any common poison among any of them.

I tested for common poisons. Cyanides, alkaloids, barbiturates, carbolic acid, are the most common poisons.

If any of the poisons for which I tested were the cause of the death, they would not be absent from the body after death if they were taken by mouth.

I found no common poison present, and I do not think any common poison caused his death.

I am still speaking of poisons taken orally, as distinguished from poisons injected.”

Professor Sir Stanton Hicks

“I think it was not a natural death. I consider that a dose of morphine which would have killed a man in that time would have been easily detectable and measurable.

.. I incline to conclude that a member of a group of drugs causing the heart to stop systole (the phase of the heartbeat when the heart muscle contracts and pumps blood from the chambers into the arteries) might have been used.”

At this stage, Hicks handed a note to the coroner (Paper marked Exhibit C18).

“The first word on the exhibit (Glycosides) is the name of the group, and the other words are members of the group (1 Digitalis and 2 Strophantin). … I had in mind more particularly number 2., which would be extremely toxic in relatively small dose, I mean even in an oral dose, and would be completely missed by any of the tests applied and would in fact be extremely difficult if not impossible to identify even if it had been suspected in the first instance.

Such a substance would be quite easily procurable by the ordinary individual …. They might even have been procured from a case under treatment* ..”

Coroner Cleland

“Three medical witnesses are of the opinion on the postmortem findings that death was not natural. There was no indication of violence, and I am compelled to the finding that death resulted from poison. But what poison?

I would be prepared to find that he died from poison, that the poison was probably a glucoside and it was not accidentally administered; but I cannot say whether it was administered by the deceased himself or by some other person. ”

*Haemoptysis  – the coughing up of blood – was treatable by using small doses of digitalis. Prosper Thomson’s war records indicate he suffered from this condition. I’m not suggesting that either he or Jessica were involved in the man’s death, but there may have been a bottle containing one of the members of Hick’s glycoside group in the medicine cabinet at 90A Moseley Street.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    If Cowan tested all the common poisons, as he claimed, surely he would have thought at least, about testing less common poisons? Or, was that beyond his capabilities?

    April 25, 2018
    • Cowan: “If he did die by poison. I think it would be a vary rare poison. I cannot make any suggestion as to what it might be.”

      April 25, 2018
  2. ellen #

    I think the googly-eyed detective nailed it, despite his political incorrectness.It was something like curare in a blowpipe.
    If you go by what can be observed, there was no fight or flight response type poison. He had saliva in his mouth, so he was not fearful. When the perpetrator put the cigarette in his mouth, moderate saliva escaped down his cheek. He was relaxed and it was sudden.

    April 26, 2018
    • When Lyons thought SM was lifting up a smoke he was in fact putting his hand up to the spot where the blow-dart just hit him. Only tiny those darts, and deadly with their curare tip.
      This is straight out of The Phantom!

      April 26, 2018
  3. ellen #

    ?Boris Pash

    April 27, 2018
    • Russian speaking, CIA operative, FBI operative, member of MacArthur’s outfit in the late 40″s, ran the PB-7 operation for the CIA for a while … bodies everywhere.
      Highly qualified fellow, Pash, one of many.

      April 27, 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: