18 September 1953 – Louisa Merrifield

Louisa Merrifield

Louisa Merrifield

That’s gratitude for you.

Louisa Merrifield bumped off the very benefactor who’d just made her the sole heir in a last will and testament. And let’s face it, how was the victim to know she’d unwittingly bequeathed all her worldly goods to a murderess-in-waiting?

Willing recipient

After all, as her carer, Merrifield had earned the trust of her charge – 79-year-old widow Sarah Ricketts. The elderly woman had no reason to doubt her sincerity, so she willed all of her possessions over to Merrifield, who then proceeded to repay the kindness by feeding her rat poison.

Perhaps Merrifield couldn’t wait for bedridden Ricketts to keel over and die of natural causes, or maybe she really needed the money, but whatever the reason, Merrifield gave her a not-so gentle shove.

Busted Merrifield

Naturally, given the highly suspicious nature of Ricketts’ death, Merrifield’s motive soon became apparent, which meant one thing. She was busted.

Soon after being found guilty of murder, Merrifield infamously became the last woman to be executed at Strangeways in Manchester.

The 46-year-old was hanged by Albert Pierrepoint for her murderous crime, and he dispatched her just three years before he himself resigned as Britain’s chief executioner.

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