Monday, January 12, 2015

Elizabeth Berry, English Serial Killer Executed - 1887


EXCERPT: Lizzie Berry left a trail of profitable bereavement behind her. Her husband, Thomas, had died in 1881; her son, Harold, in 1886; and her daughter, in 1887. She had drawn insurance benefits after each of these deaths. All were sudden deaths, and, at least in the last two, the victim, nursed by Berry, had been recovering when she was struck ill for the last time.

[Judith Knelman, Twisting in the Wind: The Murderess and the English Press, 1998, University of Toronto Press, p. 81]

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Quotes:

Mary Ann Berry, 11: “… her mother asking her to drink the white liquid contents of a glass, and the little girl saying, ‘No, mamma, I can’t.’” – and, later, as the child’s health worsened: “At the time the child was vomiting the [mother] had a tumbler in her hand. [Mary Ann] said, ‘Oh, mamma, I cannot drink it.’”

[“The Oldham murder. – Am Extraordinary Crime.” The South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Aselaide, Australia), Apr. 16, 1887, p. 6]

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Suspected victims:

Year? – Mary Ann Finley – mother.
1886 (1882 other sources) – Thomas Berry, husband.
1883 or 1884 – son, died in Blackpool
Jan. 4, 1887 – Mary Ann Berry, 11, daughter.

Executed:

Mar. 14, 1887 – Elizabeth Berry, hanged at Walton Gaol, Liverpool.

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Publisher’s text: In 1887, Elizabeth Berry, an attractive young nurse from the grim Oldham workhouse, found notoriety throughout the nation after the death of her daughter, perceived by many to be the cruellest of murders - performed with an ice-cold callousness that was almost beyond belief. There were many who protested her innocence in the affair, but there were also suspicions surrounding another death related to the nurse: that of her mother. Suddenly Elizabeth Berry’s dark story began appearing darker still. Was she in fact a coldblooded serial killer? In his new book celebrated crime author Bernard Taylor, investigates the disturbing life of Elizabeth Berry endured during an era of grinding poverty when Victorian England was obsessed with the exploits of murderers and forensic science was in its infancy. He takes a fresh look at the demise of Berry’s husband and two other young children, deaths that for a long time were considered to be of natural causes. For the first time we discover the true story behind this infamous case of the first woman to be hanged at Liverpool’s Walton Prison and one of the Victorian period’s most harrowing set of homicides. [Duckworth Press]

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http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2013/03/female-serial-killers-executed.html

More cases: Female Serial Killers Executed

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