Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Delusions & Grandeur


Broadmoor Mental Hospital
Broadmoor Mental Hospital

On April 17, 1872, Minor was admitted to Broadmoor and interned in Block 2, the most comfortable wing of the asylum, which housed the least dangerous criminals. He was given permission to reside there because he was a well-educated gentleman of high social stature. He was given two adjoining cells and allowed items of luxury that most residents were refused. He was granted permission to have books, which he kept in a bookcase, specially made for him, a writing desk, chairs, his flute and art supplies so that he could paint. Moreover, he was even permitted to have other inmates clean his living quarters.

Even though Minor had special privileges, he was unable to leave the hospital. It was difficult for him to adjust to the reality that he would be locked up the rest of his life.   While in the asylum, Minor had ample time to think about his past transgressions. He regretted killing George and wanted desperately to make amends. He began by writing a letter to Georges widow, apologizing for the sadness he caused her and their children. He also sent money to the family, hoping he could at least alleviate their financial problems.

Mrs. Merrett was a gracious woman and accepted Minors apology and financial assistance. She realized he was not in control of himself at the time of the murder. She even visited Minor at the asylum on many occasions, sometimes bringing parcels with her, such as books.    

Minor was a book enthusiast and spent long hours reading the many books that he collected. He was especially fond of antique books, which he had delivered from rare bookstores in London. The money he used to purchase the items came from his pension, which was controlled by one of his brothers living in America. Reading provided an escape for Minor and a means of pursuing his scholarly interests.

Appeal for Contributors
Appeal for Contributors

One day in the early 1880s, while reading one of the books given to him by Mrs. Merrett, he came across an advertisement for volunteers to help with compiling words, quotations and definitions for the New Oxford Dictionary. Minor was greatly excited by the ad and responded immediately to the editors of the dictionary. He hoped that in volunteering his services, he could be of use once again and be a part of something significant. He didnt realize at the time that he would become one of its most prolific and valuable contributors.

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