Many killers show their obsessions at a young age, but are sometimes ignored and passed off as enthusiasm. However, a hobby can become more than that, especially when toxicology and an interest in poisonous killers are the focus of a child’s mind...

Graham Young / Picture Credit: Serial Killers Documentaries on YouTube

Graham Young / Picture Credit: Serial Killers Documentaries on YouTube

Who was Graham Young?

At the young age of 14, Graham Young began testing poisons out on his family, eventually killing his stepmother.

He was placed in a criminal hospital after confessing to the poisonings of his family; he was released after nine years.

After starting a new job, Young began to use poison once again, until he was caught and convicted.

Troubled childhood

Graham Frederick Young was born in Neasden, North London, on September 7th, 1943; his parents were Fred and Bessie Young.

Sadly, his mother fell ill with pleurisy while she was pregnant, and passed away three months after Young was born.

Fred was mortified that his wife had died; Young was placed into the care of his aunt Winnie. His older sister, Winifred, ended up with her grandparents.

Young spent the first two years of his life with his aunt and her husband Jack; he became very close to them in this time.

When he was separated from his aunt, Young became distressed and went on to become a very odd child.

When he learned to read, Young began to enjoy some very strange books. He enjoyed factual accounts of murders; Doctor Crippen, an infamous poisoner, was a favourite.

In his teen years, Young appeared to adore Adolf Hitler and had a rather unhealthy obsession with him; he would even wear swastikas.

His behaviour seemed to get even stranger, as he read about the occult, and even attempted to include some local children in taboo ceremonies; one of which involved sacrificing a cat.

Many neighbourhood cats went missing, suggesting that these bizarre rituals were a common occurrence.

Young’s only interests in school were chemistry, forensic science and toxicology; however, his school didn’t cover these topics in much details, so he took to extra reading.

His father encouraged his son’s interests, and bought him a chemistry set, which kept Young enthralled for hours.

Young’s toxicology knowledge allowed him to trick local chemists into believing he was 17 (when he was in fact 13), and gained access to poisons like antimony, digitalis and arsenic; he also obtained large quantities of thallium, a heavy metal.

Wanting to test his knowledge, Young picked a victim: fellow pupil Christopher Williams.

Williams was subjected to a mixture of poisons at the hand of Young; the boy survived, but Young’s curiosity wasn’t quenched.

He decided to turn his attention to victims whose illness he could monitor: his family.

Poisoning his family

When Young’s sister was found by doctors to have been poisoned by belladonna in November of 1961, Fred suspected his son, but did nothing about his thoughts.

His stepmother, Molly, then became Young’s focus; one night in 1962, she was found twisting with pain by her husband after becoming increasingly ill.

She was rushed to the hospital on April 21st (1962), where she later died. Her death was said to be due to a prolapse of spinal bone.

Picture Credit: Pixabay
Picture Credit: Pixabay

It was later discovered that Molly developed a tolerance to anitomy, which was what Young was poisoning her with; he switched to thallium the night before she died in order to hurry her death along.

Young was arrested on May 23rd, 1962, after seeing a police psychiatrist, when his adoration and knowledge became obvious.

At just 14 years old, Young was admitted to Broadmoor maximum security hospital for a minimum of 15 years; however, he was released after only nine.

No murder charges were brought against Young, as the evidence, namely Molly, was cremated (at the suggestion of Young).

While incarcerated, Young still managed to tamper with drinks, read about poisons, and somehow hide his obsession, in hopes he would be released sooner; which he was.

In the late 60s, doctors could no longer see evidence of Young’s stark obsession, and he was released on February 4th, 1971, aged 23, with claims he had been ‘cured’.

Young told a nurse that he would kill one person for every year he was in Broadmoor; the comment was recorded on his record, but amazingly it did not influence the choice to release him.

His later crimes

Young’s later crimes saw him stock up on the likes of anitomy, thallium and other poisons, and pick out more victims.

He went on to poison co-workers and even kill his boss, Bob Egle; he would offer profusely to make tea and coffee which he would lace with poison. Despite this, no one suspected Young.

Another death, that of Fred Biggs, occurred via Young’s sickening hobby; he took a long time to die, which apparently caused some stress for Young...

By 1971, around 70 employees, at the photography firm where Young worked, were complaining about symptoms of nausea, sickness and excruciating pain.

When Young questioned the doctor about why thallium wasn’t being looked at as a cause, suspicious grew and the doctor alerted the authorities.

Young’s poison conviction was soon revealed, as was his collection of poisons and journals which documented victim’s doses and their reactions.

Trial and aftermath

Young was arrested Sheerness, Kent, on November 21st, 1971, where he was visiting his father.

He admitted verbally to the poisonings, but would not sign a written admission of guilt; supposedly due to his excitement about the trial, and the fame it would bring him.

Young’s trial began on Jum1 19th, 1972; he was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of administering poison.

He was found guilty on all charges, on June 29th, 1972, and received four life sentences.

Young died in his prison cell on August 1st, 1990, aged 42. Officially he died of heart failure, however, speculation still surrounds the killer’s death as some believe him to have poisoned himself, and others think another inmate may have poisoned him.

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