Antimony, tartar emetic, stibium.
Form, Antimony is a
silvery-white, soft metal that will not dissolve in water.
Tartar Emetic is a white powder - often hidden in food, but has
a slight bitter taste. As a gas Antimony can be called stibine,
a colourless and odourless gas that is released when antimony
comes into contact with acid. Lots of chemicals and common items
contain antimony, such as foil, batteries, glass enamels,
explosives and matches. Antimony is also found in Ant-paste,
which is where many Victorians found their poison. Antimony is
an element on the periodic table.
Effects, Typically this
poison is a skin irritant. Lesions causing extreme itching
appear on exposed moist areas of the body, not often on the
face. Clinically poisoning is similar to arsenic poisoning,
typically diagnosis was that of gastric fever as the symptoms
include fever, nausea, vomiting, dehydration and bad diarrhoea
often containing blood. Slow and shallow respiration, pulmonary
congestion, coma, and often death due to circulatory and
reparatory failure. The autopsy may show liver damage and damage
to other areas of the gastrointestinal tract.
Reaction time, Can be 30
minutes to several hours depending on the dose.
Treatment, Similar to
arsenic poisoning, the stomach needs to be pumped, and a
formula called dimercaprol is given , this needs to be done
within 1 - 2 hours so as to neutralize the poison.
Arsenic, White Arsenic, Black Arsenic, Metallic Arsenic, Arsenic
Trioxide, arsenous oxide, arsenic trihydride.
In its pure state a grey metal. Most often found as arsenic
trioxide - a white powder. In Murder cases it is usually
swallowed. Can also be inhaled as dust or gas.
Not completely agreed upon in the scientific community, but, it
is believed that arsenic interferes with certain enzymes and
chemicals in the body. Side effects can include jaundice type
skin. After long periods of ingestion victims can display flaky
skin. Arsenic is believes to be a carcinogenic, thus possibly
causing skin cancer.
The most common effect of arsenic poisoning is extreme stomach
pain and cramp, in fact in Victorian England doctors would often
diagnose arsenic poisoning as gastric fever, normally it was to
late for the victim by the time they established the true cause.
Other symptoms include throat burning and pain, vomiting and
diarrhoea with blood. Skin can become cold and clammy and the
victims blood pressure falls dramatically, causing the person to
become dizzy and weak. Convulsions and coma usually follow,
death finally resulting from circulatory problems.
In cases of slow poisoning the signs are jaundiced skin,
weakness and restlessness, headache and dizzy spells, with
occasional spells of paralysis. Because of the structure of
arsenic as an element, traces can be found in the hair,
fingernails and urine, red blood cells are destroyed, thus
causing the jaundiced look.
In extreme & Chronic arsenic poisoning the victim can experience
burring in the hands and feet, a numbing sensation through the
whole body, hair loss, skin irritation nausea, vomiting cramps,
weight loss, visual disturbance and finally cardiac failure.
Normally within half an hour of the ingestion, death will occur
in as little as a few hours, or, in the case of slow poisoning
over a prolonged period, can take several weeks.
The first course of action, if the doctor knows that it is
arsenic poisoning, is to pump the stomach. The victim will then
be given medication to bind the arsenic, and probably penicillin
to clear any infections. The doctor will also need to treat the
side effects of the arsenic, such as any shock, cardiac and
blood related problems., as well as any kidney damage, which
could result in kidney dialysis. Milk is often given to
penitents as it acts a a binder in the stomach for arsenic and
other metal derivatives.
Marry Ann Cotton
Cyanide, Potassium Cyanide, Sodium cyanide, hydrogen cyanide,
Potassium Cyanide and Sodium cyanide are white solids with a
slight almond odour. hydrogen cyanide is a gas. Cyanide in all
forms can be swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Prevents red blood cells from absorbing
oxygen. Cyanide poisoning is often called internal asphyxia.
Swallowing or smelling cyanide can cause immediate
unconsciousness, convulsions and death.
Pretty much immediately, but may be one to fifteen minutes. In
gas form death in instant.
must seek treatment within half hour. If the cyanide has been
swallowed Amyl Nitrate is administered immediately.
Nazi Gas Chambers used cyanide.
Thallium is soft and malleable and can be cut with a knife at
room temperature. It has a metallic shine but when exposed to
air, it quickly tarnishes with a bluish tinge that looks like
lead. A heavy layer of oxide builds up on thallium if left in
open air. In water thallium hydroxide is formed.
Effects: Thallium poisoning happens in three stages; first
intravascular distribution, then CNS (Central
Nervous System) distribution, and
finally elimination. In the first 4 hours following exposure,
thallium is rapidly distributed to the blood and to well-perfused
organs such as the kidney, liver, and muscle. Over the next 4-48
hours, thallium is distributed into the CNS.
Within three days of being poisoned, victims can suffer
headaches, muscle problems, convulsions, coma, dementia and even
psychosis. A dose as small as one gram can lead to death.
main methods of removing thallium from humans is to use
which is a solid
material, which absorbs thallium. Up to 20 g per day of Prussian
blue is fed by mouth to the person, and it passes through their
Saddam Hussein allegedly used it on his political enemies.
Phosphorous, Phosphide, Phosphine
The crystals range from colourless to yellow, and darken on
exposure to light. Phosphorous ignites in the air to form to
form white fumes and a greenish light. Phosphorous melts at 44
Contact causes tissue destruction,
attacking the liver, lungs and eyes. Chronic contact attacks the
jaw bone causing "Phossy-Jaw". Any exposure above 2 parts per
million in the air will cause red blood cell destruction, skin
irritation, also nerve and testicular destruction.
Within 2 hours and may last up to 2 weeks before death if not
Remove from exposure, if ingested, stomach
pump. Wash skin with water.
Famous cases, Louisa Merrifield
Strychnine, Dog Button, Mole-mots, Mole death.
Strychnine is a colourless powder with a bitter taste. Usually
swallowed but can be poison by skin or eye contact. It can also
be inhaled as a dust. It occurs naturally in some seeds and
plants, particularly in the Dog Button plant that grows in India
and other tropical places. The fruit resembles a small orange.
Strychnine attacks the Central nervous System (CNS) and can
exaggerate the reflex systems. This means all muscles contract
at the same time causing spasms. The victim usually dies of
asphyxiation, or sheer exhaustion. Symptoms start with the
victims face and neck, then the arms and legs, The spasms spread
quickly and become increasingly worse, putting the victim in
extreme pain, and producing a contorted body. Rigor mortis sets
in immediately on death.
Ten to twenty minutes, this can be longer if the victim has a
Treatment; The stomach can be pumped and activated charcoal administered,
as long ass the symptoms are not too advanced, if the victim
gets treatment very quickly.
Dr Thomas Neil Cream