10 June 1896 – Amelia Dyer

Amelia DyerAt £10 a pop, a career in baby farming was not to be sniffed at in the 19th century. Considered to be a nice little earner, Amelia Dyer got in on the act and became a refuge for unwanted babies or unmarried mums who couldn’t cope with the scandal or afford to hold onto their children.

Problem was she couldn’t be doing with actually looking after the children. No, she had far less honourable motives than helping people on her mind – she just wanted to pocket the money.

Dead cert

According to evidence held by Thames Valley Police plus reports, Dyer may have murdered as many as 50 babies. And those children would have amassed our dastardly Dyer around £500, which was a fortune in those days. But sometimes she struck even luckier if people were desperate to hush up the incident.

If the families in question had money, you were talking £50, even £80 a time. Doesn’t sound much today, until you hear that the purchasing power of that £80 could have bagged you a small city car in today’s terms.

Not bad thought our baby killer…for next to no work. For Dyer would throttle them, then dump the bodies and run: literally. She wouldn’t hang around in one place long and had a number of aliases and addresses to foil the law.

Annoyingly, the baby farmer was had up for manslaughter at one point, but six months of hard labour sadly didn’t deter her and some say her murder spree spanned as much as 20 years.

Parcel force

Thankfully, she was never able to enjoy all her spoils – for the evil Dyer had a calling card that was ultimately to give her away. She would strangle the children with white tape. But it was wrapping paper that led the police to her doorstep. A parcelled baby’s body was hoiked out of the Thames and a 19th-century forensics team (yep, you read right) from the Reading police force identified an address faintly written on the paper. That address took them straight to Dyer and there they found the tell-tale thread, coupled with the stench of death.

It only took the body of just one baby to have her sent down for murder. If that case had failed there were another six in reserve (after they trawled the Thames and found more). If the police had needed it they could probably have found another six to boot.

But one was enough. Dyer was strung up for her evil child-killing ways, aged 57.

Also on this day

10 June 1988 – Arthur Gary Bishop
10 June 1876 – Kenneth Brown

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One Response to “10 June 1896 – Amelia Dyer”

  1. can u please send more about the killer please and tell me how long it was, when she was born and how many babies she murded!

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