LITERARY legend Charlotte Bronte - daughter of a former Northern Ireland clergyman - was a serial killer, it has been sensationally claimed.
The author of the classic Jane Eyre, whose father was the Rev Patrick Bronte, a native of Co Down, may have murdered her brother and famous sisters, according to leading criminologist James Tully.
The Bronte family were well known among the tight-knit community of the Mountains of Mourne where Mr Bronte was in charge of the parish of Ahaderg, near Loughbrickland.
It was in their Yorkshire parsonage home at Haworth that the intriguing personal life of Charlotte Bronte became shrouded in mystery.
Tully will reveal details of his shocking findings in The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte, to be published in August.
He will claim that Emily, Anne and Branwell Bronte were all poisoned by Arthur Bell Nicholls who later became Charlotte Bronte's husband.
Tully claims that Charlotte was Nicholls' accomplice in the three killings.
Charlotte outlived her two sisters and brother by six years, eventually marrying Nicholls who was Mr Bronte's curate at Haworth.
A short time later, she incurred a very painfull illness and, within a year Charlotte, one of Britian's most acclaimed writers, was also dead.
Tully, an expert in 19th century poisons, believes that Nicholls and Charlotte used antimony, a heavy metal which contains traces of arsenic, to kill Emily, Anne and Branwell within a few months of each other.
The symptoms, which were similar to those shown by the Bronte siblings when they died, are diarrhoea and blood in the vomit.
Alll three were in their late 20s and early 30s.
Tully also claims that Charlotte helped administer the fatal doses, particularly as one of her sisters would accept food and drink only from her hand.
Also available to the alleged killer couple was …