Monday, September 19, 2011

Frances Rogers, English Child Care Provider & Serial Killer - 1871


FULL TEXT: Frances Rogers, aged thirty-five, was charged with manslaughter, in having, at various times, accomplished the death of several [stated as “four” in other sources”] infants by not providing them with the means of sustaining life. The case arose out of a transaction with a young woman named Agnes Murray, who, in consequence of an advertisement she had seen in the Manchester Examiner and Times, entrusted a male child to her. On her calling to see it some months after, the prisoner showed her a baby, which she did not believe to be hers. This led to a police inspector paying a visit to the prisoner’s house. In a back room he found a little girl, seven or eight years of age, lying upon some straw. The prisoner said the girl belonged to a distant relation of hers. A female infant child, about eight weeks old, was lying on the straw beside the girl. The prisoner said she had got the baby to nurse on the previous Tuesday, from a young woman whose name she did not know. She added that she had paid 5s a week for it. The children were partly covered over by a dirty damp blanket, which smelt very bad, and by a dirty skirt. Thee straw upon which they were lying also smelt bad. The baby was dressed in a couple of skirts. The only article of furniture in the room was a tin box, which he found contained two skirts. The prisoner, being subsequently in the kitchen, went to a cupboard on the opposite side of the compartment, and began fumbling with her dress. He took hold of her, and drew from under her dress the dead body of a male child. A medical man, who was called in to see the child of Murray, said he thought there was not two hours’ life in it; but the child recovered. There was no natural disease. In the stomach of the dead child ware traces of opium; and a chemist said the prisoner came in every day to him for laudanum. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter, and Baron Martin sentenced the prisoner to penal servitude for twenty years.

[“Baby-Farming.” The Maitland Mercury (Australia),  Sep. 30, 1871, p. 2]

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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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