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Thursday, November 21, 2013
Amelia Dyer
Arguably the most prolific killer in Victorian England was Amelia Dyer she has estimated to kill up to 400 and infants from 1882 1896. She is often referred to as "the angel maker" Her shocking crimes in 19th-century England forever changed the view of women in the criminal justice system if the time.
Mrs. Dyer as she was often referred to appeared to most to be a genteel older woman who was compassionate on single unwed mothers.

 Life in Victorian England was particularly hard for unmarried mothers and Amelia preyed upon this weakness. She placed a wanted ad in the miscellaneous column of the Bristol Times andMirror   newspaper offering to take care or adopt healthy children and raise them on a farm.When Amelia's daughter ,Polly ,curious about the babies that kept appearing in the household and then disappearing asked ..Amelia gently said that she was "sending sweet babies to Jesus". Her murder weapon of choice was often measuring tape or string or cord to strangle the babies.



Unlike many of the time Amelia was not a poor peasant woman. She was the daughter of a shoemaker ,was well learned and taught literature and poetry. Amelia soon became a midwife and well respected in her village near Bristol.

She soon found "baby farming",as it was called in the day,to be much profitable she would take in these babies for a small sum of money and if the family was well-to-do a large sum of money she learned to starve these children and eventually came to murder them instead. Amelia moved frequently throughout Bristol, Reading, Cardiff and London ever evading police . She wasn't caught until once after doctor was called to certify the death of one child too many raised the alarm to the local authorities. However instead of manslaughter she was convicted of neglect causing a child to die and served 6 months hard labor.
Newgate Prison


As always Amelia returned to her baby farming after being released from prison. Eventually she got her entire family involved in the killings. She learned her lesson though ...no longer calling the doctor to issue a death certificate and began disposing the bodies herself.

The murdering only stopped after a boatman who was pulling a cargo ship on the Thames at Reading saw I brown paper bag floating in a shallow bank of water. Fishing it out he found a small leg and tiny human foot. Police inspection revealed the body of a little girl age 6 to 12 months and the tape that was knotted around her neck read "Mrs. Thomas" and an address in Reading. Four days later on April 3 Good Friday ,police raided the address that was on the tape and were immediately met by the stench of human decomposition though nobody was found in the residence. In the home they found all the evidence needed for the undoing of Amelia Dyer. Police found adoption inquiries, pawn  tickets for children's clothing ,receipts for advertisements and letters from desperate unwed mothers .
Execution

The little Polly ,Amelia's daughter, had grown to help her mother in the demise of these infants. She soon turned evidence against Amelia and testify to the jury who convicted her in under four minutes. Polly did not face conviction for reasons unknown .But many years later however railroad workers uncovered a small package that had been placed in a carriage . Inside the brown bag was a 3 week year old girl. She was the daughter of a widow who had given the child to a Mrs. Stewart for a menial amount of money .."the little one would have a good home and the parents love and care ", Mrs. Stewart had written to the widow. She had picked up the baby at Plymouth and dumped her on the next train . Who was this Mrs. Stewart for Amelia had already been executed years before that. evil had gone free it seemed Mrs Stewart  was none other than Little Polly ....

 

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