can I find out why someone I'm researching was sent to Broadmoor Criminally Insane Asylum?

+8 votes
I have been looking at connecting the Groococks of Arnesby to the main Wikitree and came across Catherine Groocock (wife of Henry John Groocock). She was born in Leeds in 1840 (LNAB Wordsworth) and was in Broadmoor on the 1881 and 1891 censuses. She died in 1903 in Berkshire but was buried in Leeds. Is there any way to find out what she was incarcerated for? My searches so far have proved fruitless but I've never found anybody who was locked up before, so I'm new to it!
WikiTree profile: Catherine Groocock
in Genealogy Help by Gillian Causier G2G6 Pilot (301k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

1 Answer

+10 votes
Best answer

I found several newspaper articles about Cathere Groocock at  Here is a summary:

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, July 30, 1872. Catherine Groocock poisoned her child, Kate Groocock, 17 months old, and then attempted suicide.  The child's father was Henry John Groocock of Leeds.  The child was poisoned with "Battle's Vermin Killer," which contained strychnine among other ingredients.  The Coroner's jury found that the child died of willful murder by her mother.

Another article describes the trial, Leeds Mercury August 9, 1872.  A witness, a cousin, stated that Mrs. Groocock's sister, a Mrs. Blackburn "went wrong in her head, her father also became insane, and another sister, a Mrs. Howarth, died raving mad."

Yet another article, Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer August 9, 1872, stated that she was found at trial to be suffering from religious mania and was acquitted on the ground of insanity.

(corrected minor typos)

by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (366k points)
edited by Vic Watt
How terrible. Thank you so much for that, it's most helpful.
Not a pleasant thing to read but we all have ancestors but none of us are responsible for what they did!
Gillian, She would probably fit in the Black Sheep Project in the Murderers category, and her daughter Kate would fit in the Murder Victims category. Vic

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