Graham Young — Teacup Poisoner
- Born in 1947, died in 1990 in England
- He poisoned many people, killing 3 due to his fascination with toxicology
- Poisoning everyone in his workplace led to an investigation and his above average knowledge of poisons was suspicious
- He was charged with 2 counts of murder, 2 of attempted murder and 2 of administrating poison
- He was found guilty and sentenced to 4 life sentences
Graham Young’s mother died of tuberculosis a few months after his birth. Devastated, his father placed him in the care of his aunt and his sister placed with their grandparents. Young became very close to his aunt and uncle and when, two years later, his father remarried and brought the family back together Young was distressed at being separated from them.
When Young learnt to read he preferred the books about murderers, especially the notorious poisoner, Dr Crippen and Hitler. He became interested in toxicology and so his father bought him a chemistry set. At 13 he convinced pharmacists his was 17 and obtained poisons such as arsenic.
His first victim was a fellow student who he fed a cocktail of poisons and made very ill. He couldn’t monitor the result of his poisoning so focused on his family as he could see how the poisons worked. His family began to show signs of occasional poisoning and his father thought he was being careless with his chemistry kit, however he denied it. As Young also suffered his father believed him. It’s not certain whether Young was careless with his poison, wanted to test it on himself or did it to avoid detection.
Young’s stepmother became the focus of his ministrations, becoming sicker and sicker until she died. After her death Young continued his poisoning, with reports there people ill even at his stepmother’s funeral. Next he focused on his father who was lucky to survive. Young’s high school chemistry teacher contacted police after finding poisons in Young’s desk.
After his arrest at the age of 14, Young confessed to poisoning his father, sister and school friend, however he wasn’t charged with the murder of his mother as no evidence remained. He was committed to the Broadmoor maximum security hospital for 15 years. Within weeks he poisoned a fellow inmate with cyanide, although his confession wasn’t believed. He continued to poison staff and inmates drinks and reading widely about poisons. Eventually he was declared cured and released.
Anyone who got close to Young was used for experimentation with poisons. He found a job and began to poison his co-workers, with his boss eventually dying. So many people at his work were ill water contamination and radiation leakage were considered. A second employee died in agony raising concern with the company as 70 employees had shown symptoms. Young challenged the on-site doctor, questioning why thallium hadn’t been considered. His high-level knowledge raised suspicions and the doctor passed his concerns to the police. Forensic investigations revealed thallium poisoning and Young was arrested.
Young was charged with 2 counts of murder, 2 of attempted murder and 2 of administrating poison. He was found guilty and sentenced to 4 life sentences and sent to Parkhurst prison.
As a result of this case, the public sale of poisons were reviewed and reforms made in the way mentally unstable prisoners were monitored after their release.