Thursday, March 31, 2011

Amelia Dyer, The Baby Butcher

Amelia Dyer was known as many names. Some of these titles included "Baby Butcher" and "Angel Maker." However, Amelia didn't have the typical hard childhood that you would expect a serial killer to have. Amelia was born in a small village near Bristol in 1838. She was the daughter of a master shoemaker and grew up learning to read and write very early. She soon developed a serious love for literature and poetry. When she grew up she trained as a nurse. At the time this was a very hard, but respectable job. From a colleague, Amelia learned of a much easier way to make a living. She began renting out rooms in her home to young, pregnant females who were pregnant out of wedlock and disowned by their families. During this time period, being pregnant out of wedlock was unforgivable and brought on a shun from loved ones and friends. Amelia would let the mothers stay in her home and help them with their pregnancy. After the babies were born, the mothers would leave Amelia's home and sometimes even leave their babies there with Amelia (Rennell, 2007).

In November of 1985, a single mother by the name of Evelina Marmon put an ad in the paper looking for someone to look after her newborn baby girl. When she was looking at her ad in the paper, she noticed an ad right beside hers from a married couple who were looking to adopt a baby and even offered money. The ad was placed by a Mrs. Harding from Oxford Road. Evelina contacted Mrs. Harding and asked if she would be interested in watching her baby. Mrs Harding happily agreed saying that she would be so pleased to have Evelina's baby in her home. A week later Evelina dropped off her baby at Mrs. Harding's and never saw her again. Little did she know, that "Mrs. Harding" was just a disguise that Amelia was using to lure in children ("Amelia Dyer," 2011).

Amelia was known as a "baby farmer," a very common thing in England during her time. Baby farming occurred when parents needed someone to care for there children. They would leave their babies with someone and pay them to care for them. Often times the parents would never come back for their children and when their payment was up, the farmer usually let the baby starve to death. Amelia was one of the worst baby farmers. She would place ads in the newspaper offering her services. She was convicted of killing at least seven babies that were in her care during the year 1896, alone (Grahams, 2010).

Amelia was arrested on April 4, 1896 and charged with the murder of at least six babies. She claimed that she was sending the children to Jesus, because he wanted them far more than their mothers did. Almost all of the babies killed be Amelia had been strangled ans wrapped in paper parcels. In her confession she told police that "you'll know all mine (murdered babies) by the tape around their neck." Amelia went to trial on May 22, 2896 where she pleaded guilty. She was hanged on June 10, 1896 at Newgate Prison ("Amelia dyer," 2011)


Amelia dyer. (2011, January 22). Retrieved from:

Grahams, Adrian. (2010, November 24). Horror of victorian baby farms. Retrieved from:

Rennell, Tony. (2007, September 28). The baby butcher: one of victorian britain's most evil murderers exposed. Retrieved from: