Friday, June 5, 2015

Mary Ann Cotton WAS NOT Britain’s First Female Serial Killer


In June 2015 it was announced that English actress Joanne Froggatt, winner of a Golden Globe Award, has been signed up to play Victorian abusive wife and parent and wholesale poisoner, Mary Ann Cotton – executed in 1873 – in an ITV [British TV] two-part drama called Dark Angel. The TV film was inspired by David Wilson’s 2013 book Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer.

But the fact is that Mary Ann Cotton was far from being the first. Here are 33 cases which precede that of Cotton. Most of them were executed for their brutal crimes and many were the subjects of broadside ballads.

The earliest case on this list is that of Margaret Davey (or “Davie”) who “poisoned 3 households.” She was punished for the murders by being boiled to death at Smithfield in 1542.

Not too long before the discovery of Cotton’s long string of killings, Agnes Norman of Newington Butts (in London), only 15 years old, was found in 1871 to have had a mania for killing, having snuffed out the lives of a dog, two cats, six or eight birds (parrots included), and some gold fish – as well as murdering four children and attempting to murder another.

Those who were executed are indicated by: (ex.).

800 – Queen Eadburgh – England
1542 – Margaret Davey (Davie) – Smithfield, England (ex.)
1609 – Jane Hattersley – East Grinstead, Sussex, England (ex. ?)
1635 – Elizabeth Evans – London, England (ex.)
1658 – Abigall Hill – St. Olaves, Southwark, England (ex.)
1675 – “The Bloody Innkeeper’s Wife of Pultoe” – Pultoe, England
1684 – Elizabeth Ridgway – Leichestershire, England (ex.)
1693 – Mary Compton, Mary Compton the Younger, Ann David – Poplar, London, Eng. (ex. x 2)
1740 – Elizabeth & Mary Branch – Taunton, Somerset, England, England (ex. x 2)
1808 – Mary Bateman – Leeds, England (ex.)
1816 – Susannah Holroyd – Ashton-under-Line, England (ex.)
1828 – Jane Scott – Lancaster, England (ex.)
1835 – Fanny Billing & Catherine Frary – Burnham Market, Norfolk, England (ex. x 2)
1843 – Sarah Dazley – Bedford, England (ex.)
1843 – Elizabeth Eccles – Bolton, England (ex.)
1844 – Eliza Joyce – Boston, England (ex.)
1845 – Sarah Freeman – Bridgewater, England (ex.)
1846 – Mary Pimlett – Runcorn, England
1847 – Sarah Chesham – Clavering, near Chelmsford, England (ex.)
1847 – Mary Ann Milner – Lincoln, England (ex.)
1848 – Mary May – Colchester, England (ex.)
1849 – Mary Ann Geering – Lewes, England (ex.)
1849 – Rebecca Smith – Westbury, Wiltshire, England (ex.)
1850s – Allie Belchie – Lintlaw, Buncle Parish, Scotland
1851 – Mary Emily Cage – Ipswich, England (ex.)
1851 Sarah Chesham Chelmsford, England (ex.)
1862 – Catherine Wilson – London, England (ex.)
1865 – Mrs. Perkins – Canada & England
1865 – Charlotte Winsor – Torquay, England (ex.)
1870 – Margaret Waters – London, England (ex.)
1871 – Ann Burns – Wigan, Lancashire, England
1871 – Agnes Norman – London, England (15-y-o)
1871 – Frances (Hannah) Rogers – Manchester, England

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