W.E. Pritchard

(1825 – 1865)

Edward William Pritchard began his life on the 7th of January 1825 in Southsea, Hampshire, England. Son of John White Pritchard (1789 – 1851) and Francis Maria Appleby (1797 – 1867). Edward was born to a Naval family and he himself became a Medical Officer within the Royal Navy.

Pritchard met his wife through Dr. D. Cowan, Surgeon-in-Ordinary / Surgeon of the Royal Navy. Mary Jane Taylor was Dr Cowan’s niece and residing with him as a housekeeper due to his having being widowed. Jane and Edward were married on the 19th of September in 1850 at St Martin-in-the-Fields Parish Church of London.

Edward wished to begin a small surgery and on the recommendation of Michael Taylor, his wife’s father he looked to purchase a small surgery in Hunmanby, Yorkshire. In 1851 Edward took over the small Medical Practice and remained there for three years before opening a medical branch at Filey. During their time living in Yorkshire, it appears Mary Jane experienced illness, her mother Mrs. Jane Taylor nee Cowan tended to her. Eventually, the family decided they would benefit from returning to Scotland and so Edward sold his practice.

In 1859 after a bought of bad health, Edward traveled to Egypt as Doctor to an elderly gentleman, returning in the June of 1860. Mary Jane remained in Edinburgh with her parents and children, the city of Edinburgh provided their eldest child with a suitable school and so she would remain in Edinburgh with her Grandparents.

Upon returning Edward and his family moved to Glasgow, their first residence was 11 Berkeley Terrace where he commenced a Medical Practice. It was within this house that a fire took the life of the family’s servant named Elizabeth McGrain on the 5th of May 1863. After the events of the fire, the family moved to a property at 22 Royal Crescent where they lived for a time.

It was in the February of 1864 that the Pritchard’s moved into the property at 131 Sauchiehall Street and it is here Edward admits to killing his wife and mother in law via the use of the poisons antimony and aconite which he administered to the poor women under the pretense of medical treatment. Pritchard administered the poison by mixing it into Mary Jane’s food. Upon his wife’s death, Edward made such a scene that it earned him the name ‘The Human Crocodile’.