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  • George Forster was found guilty of murdering his wife and child by drowning them in Paddington Canal, London. He was hanged at Newgate on 18 January 1803, shortly after which his body was taken to a nearby house where it was used in an experiment by Italian scientist Giovanni Aldini. At his trial the events were reconstructed. Forster's mother in law recounted that her daughter and grandchild had left her house to see Forster at 4 p.m. on Saturday 4 December 1802. Joseph Bradfield, in whose house Forster lodged, reported that they had stayed together that night and gone out at 10 a.m. on the Sunday morning. He also stated that Forster and his wife had not been on good terms because she wished to live with him. Various witnesses saw Forster with his wife and child in public houses near Paddington Canal during the day on the Sunday. The body of his child was found on the Monday morning and, after the canal was dragged for three days, his wife's body was also found. Forster claimed that upon leaving The Mitre he set out alone for Barnet in order to see his other two children who were in the workhouse there, though he was forced to turn back at Whetstone due to the failing light. This was contradicted by a waiter at the Mitre who said the three left the inn together. Scepticism was also expressed that he could have walked to Whetstone in the time he claimed. The jury found him guilty. He was sentenced to death and also to be dissected thereafter. This sentence was designed not only to provide medicine with corpses on which to experiment, but also to ensure that the condemned could not rise on Judgement Day, their bodies having been cut into pieces and selectively discarded. Forster was hanged on 18 January, shortly before which he made a full confession. He said he had come to hate his wife and had twice before taken his wife to the canal but his nerve had both times failed him.

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