13 November 1849 – Maria and Frederick Manning

Husband and wife team, Maria and Frederick Manning were publicly hanged for bumping off Mrs Manning’s lover.

Maria and Frederick Manning

Maria and Frederick Manning

Swiss immigrant Maria worked as a lady’s maid in Britain. But it was a trip to France that threw into the path of her victim Patrick O’Connor. He was older than her and worked in customs at London docks. He attracted her because he had a fair penny put away.

But she also had Frederick on the go, who was poorer. But he was a similar age and there was a chance he’d come into an inheritance. It was this carrot that won through and she married Frederick. Of course the inheritance was really a red herring. It never came through so Maria schemed to get her hands on more money.

Throughout her marriage, with her husband’s knowledge, Maria had kept in touch with O’Connor and if she couldn’t have him, his money would do, so she plotted to kill him. Having invited him round for dinner, she shot him in the head as he was washing his hands.

By all accounts the bullet didn’t finish him off so her husband set upon him, taking a crowbar (or a ripping chisel as he called it) to his head. When O’Connor was well and truly pulverised to death, they chucked him in a grave they’d prepared earlier…under their kitchen floor.

They covered his body with quicklime to make him rot quicker then paved over him and got on with life like nothing had happened. But something had happened and it wasn’t long before the O’Connor clan were on to them.

They panicked and legged it in two different directions, Maria to Edinburgh by train and Frederick to Jersey where they hoped to ride it out. But the noose was tightening around the murderous pair. Scotland Yard had swooped on their house and noticing the fresh paving in the kitchen they dug up the flagstones to reveal the bloody and rotting corpse.

The police traced Maria to Edinburgh where it turned out she’d already been banged up for trying to offload O’Connor’s investments. Meanwhile Frederick was also captured because an acquaintance had recognised him in Jersey and called the police.

At their trail, when they were sent down Maria is said to have screamed ‘You have treated me like a wild beast of the forest’. They were hanged together on 13 November 1849 to much pleasure from the baying crowd at Horsemonger Lane Gaol. Frederick’s death was instant, but Maria took a little longer to die. They were then cut down and buried within the walls of the gaol.

Charles Dickens was apparently in the audience and went on to decry public executions.

Nevertheless, he is said to have based the character of Hortense in his novel ‘Bleak House’ on Maria Manning.

Also on this day

13 November 1997 – Dawud Majid Mu’Min
13 November 1890 – John Reginald Birchall

Bookmark this site
del.icio.us | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: