Wednesday 17 October

The Investigator Wednesday 17 October, 9.30pm

On February 18, 1957, the last man to be executed in New Zealand was hanged behind the walls of Mt Eden Prison. His name was Walter James Bolton – Jim to his mates, although there were precious few of them at the end.

Just two weeks after his Court Of Appeal hearing, Bolton was sent to the gallows having been found guilty of poisoning his wife of 43 years, Beatrice, with arsenic.
At his trial, the Crown argued that Jim Bolton had distilled the arsenic from some sheep dip on the farm into a highly potent clear liquid, which he put into his wife’s tea. However, Bolton left school in standard four, and experts at the National Poison Centre now seriously doubt whether he would have had the knowledge of chemistry required to make the poison.

Did the 68-year-old and the father of six children really murder his wife because he was in love with his sister-in-law? Did his wife Beatrice accidentally kill herself? Or could the real killer have been Florence Doughty – Beatrice’s sister and the woman with whom Bolton was having an affair?

Fifty years on from the Bolton hanging, Bryan Bruce uses medical and forensic techniques not available at the time to explore the reasons for Beatrice Bolton’s death, tonight on The Investigator, at 9.30pm on TV ONE. Bruce examines the original trial documents and reveals new evidence not told to the Wanganui jury who brought in the guilty verdict. He uses Bolton’s case to take a closer look at the issue of the death penalty.

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