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Bateman [née Harker], Mary (1768–1809), thief and poisoner, was born in Asenby, Yorkshire, the daughter of a small farmer named Harker. She evidently received a good education for one of her class, and could read and write proficiently. At the age of thirteen her father sent her into service in ...

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Beddingfield [née Rowe, Row], Margery (bap. 1742, d. 1763), murderer, was the daughter of John Rowe or Row (c.1702–1778), a substantial Suffolk farmer, and his wife, Margery (c.1710–1756). The couple had two sons while living at Kelsale and moved to ...

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Mary Blandy (1718/19–1752), by Thomas Ryley, after F. Wilson, c. 1740s–50s

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blandy, Mary (1718/19–1752), murderer, was born in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, the only child of Francis Blandy (c.1689–1751) and Mary Stevens (c.1700–1749), parents so 'excessively fond' of her that they could 'scarce bear her out of their sight...

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Branch [née Parry], Elizabeth (1672x87–1740), murderer, was born either in Bristol or at Norton St Philip, Somerset, the youngest daughter of a ship's surgeon. Her father, who later 'acquir'd a handsome Fortune' as a shipmaster, gave Elizabeth £2000 upon her marriage to ...

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See Branch [née Parry], Elizabeth

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Broadingham, Elizabeth (d. 1776), murderer, lived in Flamborough, near York, with her husband, John Broadingham, a convicted smuggler. No information about her exists before her trial. During her husband's confinement in York Castle, Elizabeth took up residence with one Thomas Aikney. The two continued the adulterous relationship and moved to ...

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Brownrigg, Elizabeth (c. 1720–1767), murderer, of whose parentage and early life nothing is known, is first heard of in the late 1740s working as a servant for a family residing in Prescot Street, Goodman's Fields, London. According to the Gentleman's Magazine she was then about twenty-seven years old, at which age she married ...

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Butchill, Elizabeth (c. 1758–1780), child murderer, was raised in Saffron Walden, Essex. Nothing is known of her parents. Roughly three years before her offence Butchill, 'a decent plain young woman' (Laurie, 958), moved to Cambridge to live with her aunt ...

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Butters, Mary [called the Carnmoney Witch] (fl. 1807–1839), accused murderer, achieved fame and notoriety on an August night in 1807 when she attempted to work a charm to return the butter to the milk of a cow belonging to a tailor by the name of ...

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Channing [née Brooks], Mary (1687–1706), murderer, was born in May 1687 at Dorchester in Dorset, to Baptist parents, Richard and Elizabeth Brooks. Mary was not baptized until 17 March 1706, four days before her execution. She had one younger brother and one elder, who worked as a silversmith. On 15 January 1705 she married ...

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Churchill [alias Miller], Deborah (1677/1682–1708), murderer, was born 6 miles from Norwich, either in 1682, according to the account by Paul Lorrain, or in 1677, as claimed by Captain Johnson in his account of her life. She became an infamous prostitute and pickpocket, working in and around ...

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Cotton [née Robson; other married names Mowbray, Ward, Robinson], Mary Ann (1832–1873), poisoner, was born at Low Moorsley, co. Durham, on 12 October 1832, the elder daughter of teenage parents, Michael Robson (d. 1846), miner, and his wife, Mary, née...

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Ruth Ellis (1926–1955) by unknown photographer, 1955 Getty Images

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Ellis [née Neilson], Ruth (1926–1955), nightclub hostess and convicted murderer, was born on 9 October 1926 at 74 West Parade, Rhyl, north Wales, the fourth of six children of Arthur Neilson (formerly Hornby), musician, and his wife, Elisaberta Goodall, a seamstress.

Born into poverty, ...

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Alsager Vian

revised by J. Gilliland

Fenning, Elizabeth (1793–1815), convicted attempted murderer, was born in Dominica in the West Indies on 10 June 1793. She was one of the ten children of William Fenning, infantry soldier from Suffolk, and his Irish wife. In 1796 the 15th foot, in which her father served, returned to ...

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Hayes [née Hall], Catherine (1690–1726), murderer, was born near Birmingham. Described in her youth as a 'fiery, turbulent … and intractable spirit' (Tyburn Chronicle, 2.253), she moved to Great Ombersley, Worcestershire, about 1705. Here she was taken in by members of the ...

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Richard Davenport-Hines

Hindley, Myra (1942–2002), murderer, was born on 23 July 1942 at 123 Crescent Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, the elder daughter of Robert Hindley, an army paratrooper and building labourer, and his wife, Nellie, née Maybury, a machinist. After the birth of her sister, Maureen...

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Hobry [Aubry; other married name Defermeau], Mary (d. 1688), murderer, was a French Catholic midwife of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields who emerged into prominence in late January 1688 when the head, torso, and limbs of her husband, Denis Hobry, were discovered one by one around ...

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Hungerford [other married name Cotell], Agnes, Lady Hungerford (d. 1523), murderer, is of unknown parentage. Little or nothing is known of her social background and contemporary genealogists of the Hungerford family remained conspicuously silent about her in an apparent attempt to extinguish her infamy from posterity. Her trial records suggest she may have been a gentlewoman because she maintained servants from ...