Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ann Spinks, English Child Care Provider and Serial Killer - 1898


FULL TEXT: On Thursday last, Mr Hodgkinson, coroner, for East Middlesex, fined Mrs. Ann Spinks, a widow, of Greenfieldroad, West Green, Tottenham, 20s for obstructing and impeding him in the execution of his duty.

It appears that early in March Mrs. Spinks was desirous of taking in to nurse one or two children, and got into communication with the authorities of the Salvation Army Home at Hackney. On March 3rd she was given the custody of Winifred Maundrell, the illegitimate daughter of a domestic servant and two days later a second child, Winifred Kips, aged two months, daughter of a married woman separated from her husband, was also put into her charge. On March 17 Dr. O’Meara was called in to see the child Maundrell, whom he found in a fearful state of emaciation. It died next morning and the coroner being informed, his officer made inquiries, in the course of which he saw the child Kips. On the following day the officer called again, and asked how the child Kips was getting on, and he was informed it was all right, though at that time the child was lying dead in an ‘upstairs’ room. A fresh doctor had been called in a few hours before death, and he not knowing the full facts of the case, gave a certificate, and the child was hurriedly buried at Chingford before the inquest on the first child had been held, and it was only when the nurse was put upon her oath that the true facts were brought to light. The coroner said that baby farming was becoming very prevalent in Tottenham, and on a previous occasion he had been grossly deceived, the baby farmer having told a pack of lies which led to no end of trouble. As hers was the first case he had dealt leniently with her, and discharged her with a caution, but in the present case Mrs. Spinks had not only obstructed him in his duty as a coroner, but had made matters worse by hurriedly burying the child outside his jurisdiction. The cases were suspicious, as the condition of both children was most likely to have been caused by neglect, and there were too many illegitimate children done away with, without the facts ever coming under the notice of the coroner. If any other person came before him for similar deceit he would send them to prison without option of a fine.

[“A Baby Farmer Fined.” The Edmonton & Tottenham Weekly Guardian (England), Apr. 8, 1898, p. 3]

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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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