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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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Crofts, Elizabeth (b. c. 1535), impostor, is of unknown origins. Nothing is known of her before 1554, when she was involved in a cause célèbre that led to her being accused of attempting to undermine the church and the crown. The episode is reported in both Catholic and protestant sources, with no significant variation in detail. On 14 March that year, aged about eighteen, ...

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Dalrymple [née Campbell; other married name Primrose], Eleanor, countess of Stair (d. 1759), victim of marital abuse, was the seventh and youngest child of James Campbell, second earl of Loudoun (d. 1684), landowner, and his wife, Lady Margaret Montgomerie, daughter of ...

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Florence Elizabeth Maybrick (1862–1941) by unknown photographer, c. 1889 Getty Images

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Maybrick [née Chandler], Florence Elizabeth (1862–1941), convicted poisoner, was born on 2 September 1862 at Mobile, Alabama, USA, the only daughter of William G. Chandler, banker, and his wife, Caroline, daughter of Darius Blake Holbrook. At the age of eighteen in 1881 she married an English cotton broker, ...

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Martha Ray (1742?–1779) by Nathaniel Dance, 1777 Christie's Images Ltd. (2004)

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Ray, Martha (1742?–1779), singer and murder victim, was born near Covent Garden, London, probably in 1742, though some sources suggest 1745. When she was about fourteen her father, a stay maker, apprenticed her for five years to Mrs Sarah Silver, a maker of mantuas (cloaks) in ...

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Anne Turner (1576–1615) by unknown engraver © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Turner [née Norton], Anne (1576–1615), accessory to the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, of whose origins little is known, was born on 5 January 1576 of humble parentage, and had at least one sister and one brother living at the time of her death. She entered the glittering orbit of court society in the company of her husband, ...