Friday, September 23, 2011

Annie Batten, Baby Farmer & “Alleged Wholesale Infanticide” – Australia, 1904

FULL TEXT: Sydney, March 23. – In the Central Police Court to-day the case in which Annie Batten (70), a widow was charged with having caused the death of Ethel May Perry on October 21, 1902, was continued.

Essie Batten said that she had lived with Mrs. Batten at 49 Regent-street, Sydney, as long as she could remember. She had seen many women going to that address.

Counsel: What were your duties? She made me burn babies.

How many? – I could not say exactly.

Did she treat you well? – No she used to beat me.

Continuing, witness said women who went to the house were sick. Mrs. Batten would operate on them and witness used to buy certain instruments for Mrs. Batten. Occasionally, by arrangement, a woman stayed at the house.

Counsel: Do you recognise this photograph (deceased’s photo)? – Yes: she was at our place, and was operated upon by Mrs. Batten.

Did you have anything to do with it? –

No. The woman afterwards said that she was going to a nurse’s place at Darlingburst: Mrs. Batten said that she would give the nurse £1 to keep her there. Witness, proceeding, said that after the inquest on the girl’s body Mrs. Batten said to witness that she would give Nurse Imrie £1 to keep quiet. A day or two after the girl’s death Nurse Imrie came to Mrs. Batten’s place. She was crying, and said that the girl had gone to Nurse Brown’s place. Mrs. Batten said that she would give her £1 to keep quiet about it. Nurse Imrie said “Al right,” and accepted the £1. Nurse Imrie subsequently said that she was going to leave Darlinghurst, and she asked Mrs. Batten if she could move near to her. Nurse Imrie said that she was afraid to come up, because the detectives might tail her up. Witness was taken to Nurse Imrie’s place by Constable Spring, and she then made a statement before Nurse Imrie with regard to the latter accepting the £1. Nurse Imrie denied it, and also said that the girl had not been at Mrs. Batten’s. Witness did not see the operation performed, but she saw one carried out about eight months ago. In the particular case referred to Mrs. Batten told her about it. The girl had on a previous occasion been to see Mrs. Batten in 1891, she thought. The deceased was known at the house as May Marsh. Witness left Mrs. Batten’s house, because Mrs. Batten was cruel.

Re-examined: Mrs. Batten gave her an instrument to wash after Miss Marsh had been at the house. Henry G. Cohen in the employ of Elliott Bros., stated that he recognised the girl Essie Batten. He had sold certain articles to her. She generally bought a dozen at a time, and had been purchasing the goods for about eight months.

At this stage the base was adjourned to to-morrow.

[“Extraordinary Baby Farming Case. - Shocking Revelations. Alleged Wholesale Infanticide.” The west Australian (Perth, Australia), Mar. 24, 1904, p. 5]


To learn more details about murderous child care providers in history, including baby farmers, adoption agents and baby sitters, see “Death on the Baby Farm,” by Robert St. Estephe, Female Serial Killer Index.


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


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