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Serial Killer Index Short List
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Serial Killer Index
serial killers by name [d] amazon
  DYER Amelia Elizabeth *1839 +1896/06/10 UK ... ... ... 6+
aka 1880 1896 London
... : ... ... ... ...
Urteil: Death by Hanging
Amelia Elizabeth Dyer was perhaps the best known and most prolific murderous baby farmer. She was convicted of the murder of 4 month old Doris Marmon who had been entrusted to her care, having received £10 to look after her. Doris' tiny body was found in the Thames on April the 10th 1896, together with that of one year old Harry Simmons, both wrapped in a carpet bag and both with her trade mark white tapes round their necks. The Crown decided to proceed only with Doris' murder in the first instance, so that if Mrs. Dyer was acquitted they would be able to try her for another. This was standard practice until recently. Mrs Dyer who was fifty-seven years old at the time of her arrest moved to Reading in 1895 where she began advertising for babies to look after. On the 30th of March of 1895 a bargeman recovered the corpse of 15 month old Helena Fry from the river Thames at Reading. Helena's body was wrapped in a brown paper parcel which had Mrs. Dyer's address on it. It took the police some time to trace the identity of the owner of the parcel as Mrs. Dyer had moved on, changing her address quite frequently and also using various aliases. They eventually caught up with her and she was arrested on April the 4th 1896. The corpses of seven babies, all of whom had been strangled had been recovered from the Thames, all had the same white tape around their necks. She soon confessed, saying "You’ll know all mine by the tape around their necks." While in Reading police station she made two attempts to commit suicide. She came to trial at the Old Bailey the 21st of May 1896, the trial lasting two days. The defence tried to prove insanity but failed to convince the jury who took just five minutes to find her guilty. Although there was strong evidence of her dubious sanity her crimes were also appalling and the jury seemed to give far more weight to that aspect. Mr. Justice Hawkins sentenced her to death and while in the condemned cell she filled five exercise books with her "last true and only confession." She decided not to appeal and so her execution was set for three weeks after sentence. The chaplain visited her the night before her execution and asked her if she had anything to confess - she offered him her exercise books saying "isn't this enough?" She was hanged the following morning (10th June 1896) by James Billington at Newgate, becoming the oldest woman to be executed since 1843. No-one will ever know the exact number of her victims, but at the time of her arrest she had been carrying on her trade for fifteen to twenty years.
Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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