Monday, September 19, 2011

Anne Blair, Deadly Australian Child Care Provider - 1870


FULL TEXT: Babies seem to be rather at a discount on Ballarat [Australia] just now, since they punish the killing of one by only nine months’ imprisonment, which the prisoner will probably reduce to half the period by her exemplary demeanor while in durance. This is the punishment awarded to Anne Blair, an old reckless baby-farmer, who was convicted at the Criminal Sessions of having caused the death of an infant entrusted to her care. True, she didn’t strangle it, or cut its throat, yet she did the poor little creature to death as effectively by neglect and starvation; and no doubt, when her time is up, she will resume her baby-farming operations as ruthlessly, if a little more cautiously, than before. What wonder that this species of child-murder flourishes when cases of detection are rare, and conviction is followed by only a few months’ board and lodging at the public expense. There is even a species of baby-kilting of which the Jaw takes no cognisance at all, because it cannot be set down to criminal neglect. Such was the case of James Buggy, three months old, son of an unmarried woman named O’Connor, at Richmond. At the inquest held on the child’s body, on Monday, it was shown that the mother, being a domestic servant, left him in charge of a married woman named Collins, who “brought him up by hand,” the effect of it being, according to the medical evidence that the child died from lack of its natural nourishment. The jury found that “no blame attached to the nurse.” Of course not, nobody was to blame, although nothing could be clearer than the fact that the child died from improper treatment.

[Untitled, The Grey River Argus (Greymouth, New Zealand), Sep. 3, 1870, 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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