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The Hay poisoner connection
by BBC H&W's Nicola Goodwin
In Cusop churchyard is the grave of the victim of one of the most notorious murders of the 1920's.
Cusop churchyard contains the remains of Margaret Armstrong, who has become far better known in death than she was during her lifetime.
Mrs Armstrong died on 22 February 1921, and was buried at St Mary’s but before too long her body was being exhumed, after her husband was accused of her murder.
Herbert Rowse Armstrong was a solicitor, who originally hailed from Newton Abbott in Devon.
His wife was believed to have died from arsenic poisoning and the finger pointed at her husband, who was a well known figure in Hay-on-Wye society.
He was found guilty of her murder and eventually hanged at Gloucester Jail on 31 May 1922.
The case made national news, as Armstrong had personally acted for the mother of John Lee, a convicted murderer who was eventually released in 1907.
In recent years many theories have been put forward to suggest that Armstrong himself may have been set up and was innocent of any involvement in his wife’s death; these are best explained in Martin Beales' book The Hay Poisoner.
last updated: 27/07/2009 at 11:58
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