Growing up, we learned to be afraid of the bad guys; the boogeyman, the sandman and the twitchy man who hung around in the playground with a peep hole in his book and suspiciously bulging trousers. Oh, and priests. But the laydeez can be equally, if not more frightening, and not in a PMS kinda way. I’m talking lady murderers. The women I have carefully hand picked for my list can be held accountable for some of the most bizarre, gruesome crimes in history.
WARNING: The sick, twisted ways in which these women tortured and killed their victims might be enough turn you off bringing the girls you meet at Oceana back to your house for fear of waking up in a bin bag in the Thames or with a missing willy. Just sayin’. For advice, questions and/or counselling, tweet me @BrodiSnook.
Amelia Dyer (1837-1896)
Also known affectionately as the ‘baby farmer’, Amelia Dyer was responsible for the murder of over four hundred babies over a period of around twenty years. Researchers found that Amelia was born somewhat normally into a somewhat wealthy and normal family of shoemakers, but her cogs came loose when she watched her mother violently deteriorate due to illness, only to have her father die shortly after. She became estranged from her remaining family members and at the age of twenty four married a man of fifty nine. She worked as a nurse and quickly learned from some sketchy midwives that an easier way of making a living was to use her own home to accommodate pregnant women who had conceived illegitimately and then ‘farming’ off the babies for adoption. When her sugar daddy snuffed it, Amelia needed her palm laced with silver, and fast. The fee charged was dependent upon the parents; if the couple were well off and respectable but just wanted to keep the birth a secret, around £80 would be charged. £50 would be negotiated if the father wanted his involvement to be kept under wraps, but Dyer would call it a fiver if it was an ‘immoral’ young bird knocking on her door.
Promising her customers a loving, safe environment for their bastard children, Amelia raked in the business hard and fast. She’d advertise to nurses and adopt a baby in exchange for a one off fee, and then shortly after signing the receipt, she’d murder the baby and bury it in the yard. Initially she was being kind and letting the babies starve to death, but it became too time consuming. Her signature method of murder was strangulation with white dressmaking tape. She told police it was ‘how you could tell if it was one of mine’. Though she pleaded insanity, it took the jury four and a half minutes to find her guilty. With the pointless last words ‘I have nothing to say’, she was hanged at Newgate Prison on June 10, 1896.
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