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Amelia Dyer




Kill Total: 1, maybe 400?

Kill date:


Kill Place:







Doris Marmon
D.O.B. 3 months




Old Bailey












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"Wanted," it read, "respectable woman to take young child."

This was a common request in Victorian Britain, where life was very hard for any mother, especially unmarried mothers.

The ad had been placed by  Evelina Marmon, who two months earlier, in January 1896, had given birth in a boarding house in Cheltenham to a baby girl that she named Doris.

Dyer had moved around many times, probably to evade detection of her horrific crimes. It was common in Victorian England for "Baby Farmers", or what we would call today, Fostering agents, to place adverts in newspapers. the idea was that women who could not bring up their child would pay the baby farmer a fee, usually about 10, the baby farmer would then look after the child until a suitable home was found. In the case of Dyer, it is believed she may have farmed over 50 babies and young children, most of them, ending up in the river Thames. Dyer had been questioned several times by police about missing children, but always managed to avoid detection.

Dyer’s preferred method  was to advertise to adopt or nurse a baby in return for an up-front fee and adequate clothing for the child. In her advertisements and meetings with clients, she assured them that she was respectable, married, and would provide a safe and loving home for the child.

In reality Dyer pocketed the money and killed many of the babies within days - she later admitted killing one the same day it was placed in her care. Dyer strangled the infants, always with white tape, wrapped their bodies in paper packages and bags, and dumped them in rivers.

It is not clear how long Dyer’s career as a murderer lasted, but it may have been as many as 20 years. Her family and friends testified at her trial that they had also been growing suspicious and uneasy about her activities, and it emerged that Dyer had narrowly escaped discovery several times.

During 1896 a section of the Thames was dredged, several bodies were found, and much evidence was gathered. Dyers address was found on one letter and police moved in.

In Dyers house they found a mountain of unused baby clothes as well as copies of adverts and letters from mothers. Although police were certain that Dyer was responsible for many murder, they moved on only one, as this was all that was needed to remove her from society and send her to the noose.

Wednesday 10th June 1896, Amelia Dyer was hanged by James Billington at Newgate prison, for the murder of 4-month old Doris Marmon.

She is also on the suspect list to be Jack The ripper !




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