Thursday, September 22, 2011

Amelia Sach & Annie Walters, English Child Care Providers & Serial Killers - 1903


NOTE: On November 18, 1902, Sach and Walters was arrested. Two weeks later, nine starving children were found in a house not far away in Wood Green, including two babies lying in the lid of an old rush basket.

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): On the resumption at the Old Bailey today of the trial for murder, before Mr. Justice Darling, of the two married women, Annie Walters (51) and Amelia Sach (29), in connection with the conduct of a “nursing” home, Claymore House, East Finchley, and the death of. an unknown male infant in November last year, a new witness was called for the prosecution in the person of Conrad Lambert, a clerk in the office of the “People” newspaper, who was brought forward to prove the insertion of an advertisement of the “home” in the “People” by prisoner Sach.

A young woman, Teresa Edwards, who was domestic servant at Claymore House for some months, said she wrote the advertisement at the dictation of prisoner Sach as follows: —

‘‘Doctor recommends comfortable home, skilled nurses, every care, comfortable home.—Nurse, 4, Stanley-road, East Finchley.”

~ Another Secret Witness. ~

Mr. Mathews here nodded to the custodian pt the door of the corridor for witnesses in waiting, and a young woman in black, with fair hair, stepped forward, and mounted the. witness-box. Her name was not mentioned in the hearing of the Court.”

At the instruction of Mr. Mathews (prosecuting for the Crown), she wrote single young woman, who, being attracted by the advertisement in the “ People,” went to Claymore House on July 19th, last year, to be confined, and remained there until October 22nd.

Mrs. Mathews was proceeding to question witness regarding, the connection between Mrs. Sach and Mrs. Walters, when defending counsel opened a discussion regarding the legality of such evidence on a specific charge of murder.

The judge, over-turning the objection, said the case for the prosecution was that the two prisoners were associates in a “business”; that Mrs. Sach set up a “home” for the convenience of ladies to be confined, and that Mrs. Sach was associated with Mrs. Walters in taking the money the ladies paid her for the babies to be adopted, and keeping it for herself and giving the babies to Walters. When arrested Mrs. Sach said she did not know Waiters, and Mr. Mathews was calling evidence to show that she did know Walters.


~ “A Lady at Kensington Gore.” ~

The witness, continuing, in reply to Mr. Mathews, detailed a conversation Mrs. Sach commenced with her regarding the adoption of her baby. Mrs. Sach afterwards told her she had arranged for “a lady in Kensington Gore” to adopt the baby for £30. Witness agreed to the arrangement, and paid Mrs. Sach £30 on the night of August 29th, the day the baby was born and the baby was removed, the same day.

Mr. Mathews: “You asked Mrs. Sach afterwards how the child was going on?”

“Yes; she said it was getting on fine, and growing into a big boy.”

The witness, Teresa Edwards, recalled, was closely questioned by Mr. Mathews regarding her duties as domestic servant for Mrs. Sach. Witness said she went to be; confined at 4, Stanley-road, and on the suggestion of Mrs. Sach removed with the “home” to Claymore House.

“You had seen the prisoner Walters?”

“I knew her then as Mrs. Laming.”

Continuing, witness said that on the night of the day the child of the last witness was born “Mrs. Laming” called at Claymore House. She saw Mrs. Sach hand “Mrs. Laming” a baby wrapped in a shawl, and also some money, and witness afterwards accompanied “Mrs. Laming” and the baby to a bus.

“You went to a place where ‘Mrs. Laming’ was living?”

“Yes, in Glasgow-road. I took a parcel to her for Mrs. Sach.”

~ Medical Evidence. ~

Counsel then proceeded to call medical evidence, and Dr. Joseph Pepper, Divisional Police Surgeon, who made a postmortem examination of the body of the child found dead in the arms of Mrs. Walters, gave it as his firm and emphatic opinion that the child had died from asphyxia—suffocation—and that that asphyxia. had probably been caused by a narcotic poison.

Mr. Mathews: “Would the death be consistent with the administration of chlorodyne?”

“It would.”

The Judge: “A witness (Mrs. Spencer) has stated that she heard the child making a peculiar noise.”

Dr. Pepper: “I was in Court and heard the witness imitate the noise.”

The Judge: “Can you account for the child making those noises?”

“I should say they were dying gasps.”

Witness went on to state that in some eases a child given chlorodyne would pass quietly away, but in others would produce convulsions before death, and a child in convulsions would make the choking noises that bad been described by a previous witness. Continuing, witness said the child had had no food whatever. Before leaving the witness-box, witness and that of course the asphyxia might have been caused by other means — by another drug, or by pressure on the air-passage leading to the lungs.

Another medical man, Dr. Coulter, said he agreed with Dr. Pepper in every particular except one, viz., that he thought the mark on the back of the head of the child was not due to the process of birth, and, net due to a direct blow, but was due to severe and steady pressure.

This was the last witness called for the prosecution.

The statement written by Mrs. Walters during the Police Court proceedings, with desire that it should be put before the jury, was now read by his lordship.


~ Statement by Mrs. Walters. ~

In the statement, which was of some length, Mrs. Walters said she received two telegrams from Mrs. Sach to fetch the babies. “I had to meet a lady at Aldgate Station,” the statement went on, “but was too soon, and went into Lockhart’s.” The statement proceeded that the lady arrived at Aldgate Station in a brougham. “I got into the brougham and gave her the baby. She said, ‘untie the parcel,’ and I untied it. Then she undressed the baby, gave me the clothes and dressed it in fine clothes and laces and a beautiful cloak.”

Continuing, the statement read that “the lady” said she was going to Ireland or Scotland, but not know which; that whilst in the conveyance “the lady” gave her a glass of champagne, and “dropping” her at St. James’s-street gave her 10s.

Speaking of this lady, Mrs. Walters, in the statement, proceeded:.” I met the lady before, at Mrs. Sach’s, when I went there wee Mrs. Sach said, ‘This is Mrs. Rogers.’”

~ A Mysterious Lady. ~

With regard to the other baby, Mrs. Walters wrote that she received a telegram to take it to South Kensington Station to meet a lady she had previously met at the archway Tavern, Highgate. The lady told her she was going to take the baby to a coast-guard’s wife at Eastbourne, and would give Mrs. Walters 10s. for her trouble.

“I always thought Mrs. Sach’s name was Maude,” continued the statement.” She signed her name Maude always to me, and she told me she received no money for the babies. The mothers were heartless things, leaving them on her hands. I was greatly surprised to hear she received so much money from the mothers, and you know the rest.”

The concluding lines of the statement were: —

“I gave the baby two drops of chlorodyne, not intending to harm it, only to make it sleep. I had taken a bottleful, and it did not hurt me. I gave it nothing else at all. – “Yours obediently,  ANNIE WALTERS.”

 After the reading, of this, Mr. Mathews commended his address to the jury.

~ Demeanour of the Prisoners. ~

As during the whole of yesterday, the two prisoners, from their seats in the dock, had followed with apparent keen interest the evidence adduced for the prosecution. Mrs. Sach, in particular, seemed terribly curious not to miss a word of what was said, and when in the case of several of the witnesses the answers given to questions of counsel were, but faintly uttered, and difficult to hear, she placed her head on one side, and wrinkled her brow as though greatly annoyed at having missed a word.

Mrs. Walters, on the other hand, whilst also evincing the keenest interest, sat stolidly beside Mrs. Sach, and not a muscle of her face moved; but when Mr. Mathews opened his address she followed the example of her companion, and gazed fixedly at counsel as he proceeded deftly to draw together the ends of the net of the prosecution.

At 1.40 the Court adjourned tor luncheon.

~ Public Curiosity. ~

As the afternoon wore on the Court became more and more crowded, and when at three o’clock precisely Mr. Mathews had finished his address for the Crown, having spoken for over two hours, the pressure had reached a most uncomfortable degree, and the feeling of the Court was tense and the atmosphere close. Not only were the three little boxes which serve as accommodation for the public between the squat pillars overlooking the dock packed to excess, with the front rows filled with females, but every available seat in the well of the Court was occupied, and counsel, in wig and gown, and others carrying top-hats were crowded together, standing on the staircase leading to the lobby of the Courts.

~ Addresses for the Defence. ~

For the prisoner Walters, Mr. Stephenson, in his address to the jury, argued that the prosecution had failed to bring forward sufficient evidence to disprove the statement Mrs. Walters had written, and which was read in Court immediately before the adjournment for luncheon. The prosecution, he said, had failed to make out their case, which he regarded as having been unduly pressed against prisoner at the bar.

Mr. Leycester, for Mrs. Sach, said he endorsed the arguments that had been used by Mr. Stephenson – that the prosecution had not proved their case. He argued that it had not even been proved that there had been a murder. The babies, he went on. left the custody of Mrs. Sach alive and well, and there was absolutely.
[“Finchley Baby Farm -  The Islington Murder Charge - Trial of Sach And Walters - Witnesses for the Defence.” The Echo (London, England), Jan. 16, 1903, p. 3]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): London, January 18. – Annie Walters and Amelia Sach, in the baby-farming case, were found guilty and sentenced to death at the Old Bailey. Annie Walters, 54 years of age, described as a widow, who lodged at 11 Danbury street, Islington, was charged with the wilful murder of some children; and Amelia Sach, 29, married, of Claymore House, East Finchley — a maternity home — was charged with being accessory to the murder. Mr. Bodkin, who represented the Treasury at the inquest touching one of the cases, said Claymore House was a “private nursing home,”‘ where expectant mothers were taken in for £1 ls or 15s a week after a first payment of £3 3s. Among Mrs. Sach’s patients wore two young women named Pardoe and Galley. Mrs Sach represented to them that she knew “fine, wealthy ladies” who would adopt their children, and they arranged to pay her £30 and £25 respectively. Counsel then described how Mrs. Walters on October 29 took a room at 11 Danbury street, a house occupied by a police officer named Seal. She said that she was a widow, that she had just come out of the hospital, and that she worked for “Mrs Sach, a lady who got children from young women who could not afford to keep them, and employed her (Mrs. Walters) to take them to wealthy ladies who adopted them.” She said she expected a telegram from Mrs. Sach as to the adoption of a child by a wealthy lady in Piccadilly, who was going to give £100. On November 21 Miss Pardoe’s child, a girl, was born, and the same morning Mrs. Walters received a telegram: “Five o’clock to-night. Sach, Finchley.” She left the house and returned with a living child, which she said was a boy. She gave Mrs Spencer, a lodger, £1 out of which to purchase a bottle of chlorodyne and some carbolic acid.

Mrs. Sach attended Miss Pardoe, and an hour or so after the event presented the baby to its mother, and said, “Now kiss it good-bye.” The mother never saw the child again. The father paid Mrs. Sach £30 in bank notes, and these had been traced.

On Friday, November 14, Mrs. Walters left her lodgings carrying a bundle, and the child was never seen at the house again. The woman’s movements that day were uncertain, but at 3 o’clock she was at one of Lockhart’s cocoa rooms at Whitechapel with a bundle, of which one of the attendants, a Miss Jones, took particular notice.

The wrap fell off, and Miss Jones noticed something that looked like a doll — it was not moving and there was no sound. Mrs Walters was spoken to about the bundle, and she told a most extraordinary story. The bundle, she said, contained “a baby under chloroform,” that it had been in a hospital, that it was a boy about a week old, and that it had just undergone an operation. She was going to take the child to Finchley. Miss Jones was of opinion that the child was then dead. It would be shown, that at 9 o’clock that morning the baby was strong and healthy.

Mrs. Walters returned home at 8 in the evening apparently the worse for drink, and, throwing some baby’s clothes across the table to Mrs Seal. said. “There you are; those are for you.” “You have taken the poor little thing, then?” Mrs. Seal inquired. “Poor little thing, indeed,” exclaimed Walters. “You should have seen it in its laces.” thus carrying out the idea of the wealthy lady who was to pay £100 to adopt the child. Mr. Bodkin then dealt with Miss Galley’s child, “a healthy, vigorous boy,” which is the subject of the present charge. Mrs Sach received £25 for it, and it was taken away by Mrs. Walter Police-constable Seal, the landlord of the house, had become auspicious of Walters. She had received two telegrams and sent off letters sealed with red wax, and he thought from this that something was wrong. So he set his son Albert, a smart little lad of 14-years, to watch her, and later informed his superiors.

The boy Albert told a dramatic story in the witness box of what the coroner called his first bit of detective work. He paid he watched Mrs. Walters on Saturday. November 15. She came out about 6.30 p.m. and got on a tramway car. He ran from the Angel to Highbury, and then got on the car. At the Archway Tavern Walters met a young lady about 26 years old, and stylishly dressed. The couple went into the tavern, and afterwards drove off in a hansom towards Finchley. The boy then returned home, and while watching from the opposite side of the street saw Mr. Walters return with a baby.

On Tuesday, November 18, the lad was watching again. Detective Wright was with him then, and they were in the house next door. Mrs. Walters went out about 9 o’clock in the morning carrying what appeared to be a baby. She frequently looked back to I see if anyone was following. Little more than an hour later Walters was arrested with a dead infant in her arms.

[“A Baby-Farming Case. Two Women Sentenced To Death.” Otago Witness (New Zealand), Jan. 21, 1903, p. 15]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): The recent trial in London of two women named Sach and Walters for the murder of babies, which had ostensibly been sent to them for adoption, with handsome fees, by rich women in the West End, and disclosures in connection with that horrible traffic, have laid bare the details of an individual case in a widespread system which is in constant operation in London for the destruction of infants.

As the law at present stands facilitates which exist for doing to death unfortunate babies whose mothers find it worth while to get rid of them are such that even the detection and punishment or these women will nut have much effect in putting a stop to the practice. These two women will be hanged in all probability, there are many more pursuing the same murderous calling.

It is horribly significant that while previous to the arrest of Mrs. Sach and Mrs. Walters the police in all lurid of London had been finding dead babies at the rate of about 100 a year, since their nefarious baby farm was discovered there has been so marked a falling off as to compel only one inference that a large number of these little corpses were outcasts from that fatal farm.

[“Murder of Infants On Baby Farms,” Evening Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii), Mar. 3, 1903, p. 8]


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For more cases of “Baby Farmers,” professional child care providers who murdered children see The Forgotten Serial Killers.

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