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Dr Pritchard had made a servant girl pregnant and aborted the baby, saying he would marry her if his wife should die. Mary Pritchard and her mother, who came to care for her during an illness, both died within weeks in 1865.
Suspicion fell upon Pritchard in a letter to the Procurator Fiscal. Pritchard was arrested and tried for poisoning by antimony, then hanged in Glasgow - the last person to be publicly hanged in Scotland.