On the evening of Oct. 20, 1891, Matilda Clover arrived at her Lambeth Road lodging house with an unidentified man. Clover, 27, worked as a prostitute and the man appeared to be a client. At 3 a.m., people in the house rushed to Clover’s room as she screamed for help. She was convulsing and eventually died. It was reported her convulsions were the result of alcoholism. However, her body was exhumed months later and it was discovered she died of strychnine poisoning.
Witnesses at the house identified Dr. Thomas Cream as the man Clover was with that night. Around the same time, a letter from a “M. Malone” arrived at a London doctor’s office accusing the physician of poisoning Clover and demanding money for the author’s silence. There was something suspicious in the letters, as the person who wrote them said Clover had been murdered. Her cause of death at the time was still listed as being from natural causes.
The handwriting in the letter was eventually connected to Cream and he was arrested. Known as the “Lambeth Poisoner” in the press, Cream stood trial for the murder of Clover and three other women. He was convicted on Oct. 21, 1892, and hung less than a month later.