Amelia Sach

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Banned
Amelia Sach



A.K.A.: "The Finchley baby farmers"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Baby killer
Number of victims: Several (possibly dozens)
Date of murder: 1900 - 1902
Date of arrest: November 18, 1902
Date of birth: 1873
Victim profile: Infants of unwed mothers
Method of murder: Poisoning (chlorodyne, a medicine containing morphine)
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging at Holloway on February 3, 1903





Amelia Sach (1873 - 3 February 1903) and Annie Walters (1869 - 3 February 1903) were two British serial killers better known as the Finchley baby farmers.

Crimes

Amelia Sach operated a "lying-in" home in Stanley Road, and later at Claymore House in Hertford Road (both in East Finchley), London. Around 1900, she began to advertise that babies "could be left", and took money for adoptions. The clients, judging from the witness accounts, were mostly servants from local houses who had become pregnant, and who had employers who were keen for the matter to be resolved discreetly. There was a charge for lying-in, and another for adoption, a "present" to future parents of between £25 and £30.

Annie Walters would collect the baby after it was born, and then dispose of it with poison — chlorodyne (a medicine containing morphine). They were caught after Walters raised the suspicions of her landlord in Islington who was a police officer. An unknown number of babies were murdered this way, possibly dozens.

During their trial at the Old Bailey, the quantity of baby clothes found at Claymore House was used as evidence of the scale of their crimes. A local campaign to have their sentences commuted to life failed, and they became the first women to be hanged at Holloway on 3 February 1903, by Henry Pierrepoint, the future father of Albert Pierrepoint, the only double hanging of women to be carried out in modern times.

Background

Little is known about Annie Walters, but Sach's background is well-documented: Amelia Sach was baptised Frances Amelia Thorne in Hampreston, Dorset, on May 5, 1867. She was the fourth child of ten and had three sisters. She married a builder called Jeffrey Sach in 1896. Sach was active long before she engaged Walters. By 1902 she was working from 'Claymore House', a semi-detached, red-brick villa in East Finchley, North London.

Sach was herself a mother; the England and Wales census of 1901 shows that a child was born to her in Clapham. She lied about her age — she was 32, not 29. Walters' background is unknown, but she had been married. She seems to have had a drinking problem and she would periodically advertise herself as a sick nurse. On her arrest she was determined to be "feeble", that is to say, feeble-minded.

There is a small possibility that the pair may have been involved in an earlier homicide that resulted in another woman being executed. In 1899, Louise Masset was tried for the murder of her young son Manfred, whose body was found in the ladies' lavatory at Dalston Junction railway station. Circumstantial evidence suggested that Louise was the murderer, and the killing was to be rid of a supposed encumbrance due to her wanting to marry a man named Lucas. However, in her claims of innocence, Louise said she had taken Manfred out of the care of one woman to give him to two ladies she met who had an establishment for the care of growing children. The police claimed they made some effort in looking for the two women, but the extent of their investigation is unknown. In any event, Louise Masset was tried and convicted of the murder and, despite a petition for mercy, was executed in early January 1900.

Aftermath

The bodies of Sach and Walters were buried in unmarked graves within the walls of Holloway Prison, as was customary. In 1971 the prison underwent an extensive programme of rebuilding, during which the bodies of all the executed women were exhumed. With the exception of Ruth Ellis, the remains of the four other women executed at Holloway (i.e. Styllou Christofi, Edith Thompson, Sach and Walters) were subsequently reburied in a single grave (plot 117) at Brookwood Cemetery. The grave is marked with a horizontally laid grey granite tombstone, and the names of all the occupants are engraved on it.

"Claymore House", the semi-detached, red-brick villa where Sach had lived and worked in 1902 acquired a bad reputation due to the criminal activities which took place there. Some time after the trial of Sach and Walters, the building had its name chiselled off the stone plaque above the window and is now anonymous.

Amelia Sach

English born in 1873, Amelia Sach appeared to be a kindly soul who doted over children.

So concerned was she about their welfare, that she opened up a "nursing home" in East Finchley, London, catering to unwed mothers in their hour of need. Sach's clients were recruited through an advertisement in the papers. ACCOUCHEMENT: Before and during, skilled nursing. Home comforts. Baby can remain.

That final sentence was the clincher, with Amelia promising to make arrangements for "adoption"... if an extra fee of twenty-five or fifty pounds was paid. In fact, the infants were delivered to her simple-minded sidekick, Annie Walters, for disposal, generally dispatched with chlorodyne, their tiny corpses cast off in the Thames or buried in convenient garbage dumps.

In 1902, Amelia gave Walters the child of an unwed mother named Galley, instructing her to dispose of the baby as always.

Ignoring the order, Annie took the infant home "for company," surprising her landlord (who was also a policeman). Walters explained that she was keeping the child as a favor to some friends, who lived in Kensington, but she appeared confused. While chatting with the landlord's wife, Annie referred to the baby as "a dear little girl," but the landlady, having recently changed the child's diaper, knew it to be a boy.

When Annie's tiny roommate died, a few days later, inconvenient questions were defrayed in deference to her grief. The tears seemed real enough, but two months later she produced another infant, this one also dying "accidentally" in its sleep.

Interrogation of their suspect led detectives to the nursing home, and both women were sentenced to die on conviction of multiple murders.

As their hangman, H.A. Pierrepoint, noted in his diary: "These two women were baby farmers of the worst kind and were both repulsive in type. They had literally to be carried to the scaffold and protested to the end against their sentences."

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans

A Baby-Farming Case. Two Women Sentenced To Death

Otago Witness (New Zealand)

Jan. 21, 1903

London, January 18. – Annie Walters and Amelia Sach, in the baby-farming case, were found guilty and sentenced to death at the Old Bailey.

Annie Walters, 54 years of age, described as a widow, who lodged at 11 Danbury street, Islington, was charged with the wilful murder of some children; and Amelia Sach, 29, married, of Claymore House, East Finchley — a maternity home — was charged with being accessory to the murder.

Mr. Bodkin, who represented the Treasury at the inquest touching one of the cases, said Claymore House was a “private nursing home,”‘ where expectant mothers were taken in for £1 ls or 15s a week after a first payment of £3 3s. Among Mrs. Sach’s patients wore two young women named Pardoe and Galley. Mrs Sach represented to them that she knew “fine, wealthy ladies” who would adopt their children, and they arranged to pay her £30 and £25 respectively. Counsel then described how Mrs. Walters on October 29 took a room at 11 Danbury street, a house occupied by a police officer named Seal. She said that she was a widow, that she had just come out of the hospital, and that she worked for “Mrs Sach, a lady who got children from young women who could not afford to keep them, and employed her (Mrs. Walters) to take them to wealthy ladies who adopted them.” She said she expected a telegram from Mrs. Sach as to the adoption of a child by a wealthy lady in Piccadilly, who was going to give £100.

On November 21 Miss Pardoe’s child, a girl, was born, and the same morning Mrs. Walters received a telegram: “Five o’clock to-night. Sach, Finchley.” She left the house and returned with a living child, which she said was a boy. She gave Mrs Spencer, a lodger, £1 out of which to purchase a bottle of chlorodyne and some carbolic acid.

Mrs. Sach attended Miss Pardoe, and an hour or so after the event presented the baby to its mother, and said, “Now kiss it good-bye.” The mother never saw the child again. The father paid Mrs. Sach £30 in bank notes, and these had been traced.

On Friday, November 14, Mrs. Walters left her lodgings carrying a bundle, and the child was never seen at the house again. The woman’s movements that day were uncertain, but at 3 o’clock she was at one of Lockhart’s cocoa rooms at Whitechapel with a bundle, of which one of the attendants, a Miss Jones, took particular notice.

The wrap fell off, and Miss Jones noticed something that looked like a doll — it was not moving and there was no sound. Mrs Walters was spoken to about the bundle, and she told a most extraordinary story. The bundle, she said, contained “a baby under chloroform,” that it had been in a hospital, that it was a boy about a week old, and that it had just undergone an operation. She was going to take the child to Finchley. Miss Jones was of opinion that the child was then dead. It would be shown, that at 9 o’clock that morning the baby was strong and healthy.

Mrs. Walters returned home at 8 in the evening apparently the worse for drink, and, throwing some baby’s clothes across the table to Mrs Seal. said. “There you are; those are for you.” “You have taken the poor little thing, then?” Mrs. Seal inquired. “Poor little thing, indeed,” exclaimed Walters. “You should have seen it in its laces.” thus carrying out the idea of the wealthy lady who was to pay £100 to adopt the child. Mr. Bodkin then dealt with Miss Galley’s child, “a healthy, vigorous boy,” which is the subject of the present charge. Mrs Sach received £25 for it, and it was taken away by Mrs. Walter Police-constable Seal, the landlord of the house, had become auspicious of Walters. She had received two telegrams and sent off letters sealed with red wax, and he thought from this that something was wrong. So he set his son Albert, a smart little lad of 14-years, to watch her, and later informed his superiors.

The boy Albert told a dramatic story in the witness box of what the coroner called his first bit of detective work. He paid he watched Mrs. Walters on Saturday. November 15. She came out about 6.30 p.m. and got on a tramway car. He ran from the Angel to Highbury, and then got on the car. At the Archway Tavern Walters met a young lady about 26 years old, and stylishly dressed. The couple went into the tavern, and afterwards drove off in a hansom towards Finchley. The boy then returned home, and while watching from the opposite side of the street saw Mr. Walters return with a baby.

On Tuesday, November 18, the lad was watching again. Detective Wright was with him then, and they were in the house next door. Mrs. Walters went out about 9 o’clock in the morning carrying what appeared to be a baby. She frequently looked back to I see if anyone was following. Little more than an hour later Walters was arrested with a dead infant in her arms.

UnknownMisandry.blogspot.com

Finchley Baby Farm

The Islington Murder Charge - Trial of Sach And Walters - Witnesses for the Defence

The Echo (London, England)

Jan. 16, 1903

On the resumption at the Old Bailey today of the trial for murder, before Mr. Justice Darling, of the two married women, Annie Walters (51) and Amelia Sach (29), in connection with the conduct of a “nursing” home, Claymore House, East Finchley, and the death of. an unknown male infant in November last year, a new witness was called for the prosecution in the person of Conrad Lambert, a clerk in the office of the “People” newspaper, who was brought forward to prove the insertion of an advertisement of the “home” in the “People” by prisoner Sach.

A young woman, Teresa Edwards, who was domestic servant at Claymore House for some months, said she wrote the advertisement at the dictation of prisoner Sach as follows: —

‘Doctor recommends comfortable home, skilled nurses, every care, comfortable home.—Nurse, 4, Stanley-road, East Finchley.”

Another Secret Witness

Mr. Mathews here nodded to the custodian pt the door of the corridor for witnesses in waiting, and a young woman in black, with fair hair, stepped forward, and mounted the. witness-box. Her name was not mentioned in the hearing of the Court.”

At the instruction of Mr. Mathews (prosecuting for the Crown), she wrote single young woman, who, being attracted by the advertisement in the “ People,” went to Claymore House on July 19th, last year, to be confined, and remained there until October 22nd.

Mrs. Mathews was proceeding to question witness regarding, the connection between Mrs. Sach and Mrs. Walters, when defending counsel opened a discussion regarding the legality of such evidence on a specific charge of murder.

The judge, over-turning the objection, said the case for the prosecution was that the two prisoners were associates in a “business”; that Mrs. Sach set up a “home” for the convenience of ladies to be confined, and that Mrs. Sach was associated with Mrs. Walters in taking the money the ladies paid her for the babies to be adopted, and keeping it for herself and giving the babies to Walters. When arrested Mrs. Sach said she did not know Waiters, and Mr. Mathews was calling evidence to show that she did know Walters.

A Lady at Kensington Gore

The witness, continuing, in reply to Mr. Mathews, detailed a conversation Mrs. Sach commenced with her regarding the adoption of her baby. Mrs. Sach afterwards told her she had arranged for “a lady in Kensington Gore” to adopt the baby for £30. Witness agreed to the arrangement, and paid Mrs. Sach £30 on the night of August 29th, the day the baby was born and the baby was removed, the same day.

Mr. Mathews: “You asked Mrs. Sach afterwards how the child was going on?”

“Yes; she said it was getting on fine, and growing into a big boy.”

The witness, Teresa Edwards, recalled, was closely questioned by Mr. Mathews regarding her duties as domestic servant for Mrs. Sach. Witness said she went to be; confined at 4, Stanley-road, and on the suggestion of Mrs. Sach removed with the “home” to Claymore House.

“You had seen the prisoner Walters?”

“I knew her then as Mrs. Laming.”

Continuing, witness said that on the night of the day the child of the last witness was born “Mrs. Laming” called at Claymore House. She saw Mrs. Sach hand “Mrs. Laming” a baby wrapped in a shawl, and also some money, and witness afterwards accompanied “Mrs. Laming” and the baby to a bus.

“You went to a place where ‘Mrs. Laming’ was living?”

“Yes, in Glasgow-road. I took a parcel to her for Mrs. Sach.”

Medical Evidence

Counsel then proceeded to call medical evidence, and Dr. Joseph Pepper, Divisional Police Surgeon, who made a postmortem examination of the body of the child found dead in the arms of Mrs. Walters, gave it as his firm and emphatic opinion that the child had died from asphyxia—suffocation—and that that asphyxia. had probably been caused by a narcotic poison.

Mr. Mathews: “Would the death be consistent with the administration of chlorodyne?”

“It would.”

The Judge: “A witness (Mrs. Spencer) has stated that she heard the child making a peculiar noise.”

Dr. Pepper: “I was in Court and heard the witness imitate the noise.”

The Judge: “Can you account for the child making those noises?”

“I should say they were dying gasps.”

Witness went on to state that in some eases a child given chlorodyne would pass quietly away, but in others would produce convulsions before death, and a child in convulsions would make the choking noises that bad been described by a previous witness. Continuing, witness said the child had had no food whatever. Before leaving the witness-box, witness and that of course the asphyxia might have been caused by other means — by another drug, or by pressure on the air-passage leading to the lungs.

Another medical man, Dr. Coulter, said he agreed with Dr. Pepper in every particular except one, viz., that he thought the mark on the back of the head of the child was not due to the process of birth, and, net due to a direct blow, but was due to severe and steady pressure.

This was the last witness called for the prosecution.

The statement written by Mrs. Walters during the Police Court proceedings, with desire that it should be put before the jury, was now read by his lordship.

Statement by Mrs. Walters

In the statement, which was of some length, Mrs. Walters said she received two telegrams from Mrs. Sach to fetch the babies. “I had to meet a lady at Aldgate Station,” the statement went on, “but was too soon, and went into Lockhart’s.” The statement proceeded that the lady arrived at Aldgate Station in a brougham. “I got into the brougham and gave her the baby. She said, ‘untie the parcel,’ and I untied it. Then she undressed the baby, gave me the clothes and dressed it in fine clothes and laces and a beautiful cloak.”

Continuing, the statement read that “the lady” said she was going to Ireland or Scotland, but not know which; that whilst in the conveyance “the lady” gave her a glass of champagne, and “dropping” her at St. James’s-street gave her 10s.

Speaking of this lady, Mrs. Walters, in the statement, proceeded:.” I met the lady before, at Mrs. Sach’s, when I went there wee Mrs. Sach said, ‘This is Mrs. Rogers.’”

A Mysterious Lady

With regard to the other baby, Mrs. Walters wrote that she received a telegram to take it to South Kensington Station to meet a lady she had previously met at the archway Tavern, Highgate. The lady told her she was going to take the baby to a coast-guard’s wife at Eastbourne, and would give Mrs. Walters 10s. for her trouble.

“I always thought Mrs. Sach’s name was Maude,” continued the statement.” She signed her name Maude always to me, and she told me she received no money for the babies. The mothers were heartless things, leaving them on her hands. I was greatly surprised to hear she received so much money from the mothers, and you know the rest.”

The concluding lines of the statement were: —

“I gave the baby two drops of chlorodyne, not intending to harm it, only to make it sleep. I had taken a bottleful, and it did not hurt me. I gave it nothing else at all. – “Yours obediently, ANNIE WALTERS.”

After the reading, of this, Mr. Mathews commended his address to the jury.

Demeanour of the Prisoners

As during the whole of yesterday, the two prisoners, from their seats in the dock, had followed with apparent keen interest the evidence adduced for the prosecution. Mrs. Sach, in particular, seemed terribly curious not to miss a word of what was said, and when in the case of several of the witnesses the answers given to questions of counsel were, but faintly uttered, and difficult to hear, she placed her head on one side, and wrinkled her brow as though greatly annoyed at having missed a word.

Mrs. Walters, on the other hand, whilst also evincing the keenest interest, sat stolidly beside Mrs. Sach, and not a muscle of her face moved; but when Mr. Mathews opened his address she followed the example of her companion, and gazed fixedly at counsel as he proceeded deftly to draw together the ends of the net of the prosecution.

At 1.40 the Court adjourned tor luncheon.

Public Curiosity

As the afternoon wore on the Court became more and more crowded, and when at three o’clock precisely Mr. Mathews had finished his address for the Crown, having spoken for over two hours, the pressure had reached a most uncomfortable degree, and the feeling of the Court was tense and the atmosphere close. Not only were the three little boxes which serve as accommodation for the public between the squat pillars overlooking the dock packed to excess, with the front rows filled with females, but every available seat in the well of the Court was occupied, and counsel, in wig and gown, and others carrying top-hats were crowded together, standing on the staircase leading to the lobby of the Courts.

Addresses for the Defence

For the prisoner Walters, Mr. Stephenson, in his address to the jury, argued that the prosecution had failed to bring forward sufficient evidence to disprove the statement Mrs. Walters had written, and which was read in Court immediately before the adjournment for luncheon. The prosecution, he said, had failed to make out their case, which he regarded as having been unduly pressed against prisoner at the bar.

Mr. Leycester, for Mrs. Sach, said he endorsed the arguments that had been used by Mr. Stephenson – that the prosecution had not proved their case. He argued that it had not even been proved that there had been a murder. The babies, he went on. left the custody of Mrs. Sach alive and well, and there was absolutely.

UnknownMisandry.blogspot.com

The baby killer in my family: Researching your background has never been so popular... but the past can hide horrific secret

By Penninah Asher - DailyMail.co.uk

June 5, 2011

Digging into your family past has never been as easy or so popular.

Millions of us spend weekends trawling the internet and poring over ancestry sites and magazines.

We are glued to television programmes such as the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are?.

We all want to know where we come from, to build up a picture of our family's past and to discover how our forebears used to live.

My interest in genealogy started ten years ago when I was inspired by my mother Judith's attempts to complete her family tree.

She told me stories of a grandfather who fought in Sudan and an ancestor who ran away to sea aged 14. I was intrigued.

So, pregnant with the first of my two children and home all day with very little to do, I did some research, starting with friends' families.

Then I turned to my own father and his roots, a subject of great curiosity to me. I come from a fractured family on his side.

In fact, I'm estranged from my dad, I haven't seen him since I was 16 and I didn't even know the names of his parents. I knew nothing about my father's family, other than what my mother had told me.

I've always enjoyed piecing a story together, so day after day I sat at my kitchen table in front of the computer, next to a growing box of certificates and other documents.

I found the website www.freebmd.org.uk, my first and most valuable source.

It gives free access to the index of birth, marriage and deaths in England and Wales, and I managed to trace my grandparents through it.

Then I joined the website www.rootschat.com, a free messaging forum where members give helpful advice and I started building a family tree on www.ancestry.co.uk.

It is a well-trodden path. But, while I suspected some members of my father's side of the family were pretty colourful, nothing prepared me for what I discovered when, out of the blue, I received an email from a man through the website ancestry.co.uk, who asked if I was aware I was related to 'a notorious lady' called Amelia Sach.

Sach, explained my correspondent, was a murderess better known as the Finchley 'baby farmer'.

On a bitter winter's morning in 1903, she became one of the first two women to be executed at Holloway Prison - along with her colleague Annie Walters.

And Amelia Sach, convicted as an infamous killer of babies, was the sister of my great-grandmother, so she was my great-great-aunt.

My first reaction was confusion, then shock and then disbelief. Did I really have a murderess in the family? And if I did, then why did I know nothing about it?

The answers were not hard to find. I went back to my family tree and found Amelia Sach had been baptised Frances Amelia Thorne in Hampreston, Dorset, on May 5, 1867, the fourth child of ten.

She had three sisters, the youngest being Eunice Priscilla May Thorne, my great-grandmother.

I tracked Amelia through the censuses, and discovered her marriage to Jeffrey Sach in 1896.

I checked and double-checked, and the emailer - who I understand was a lawyer researching the fate of children born to murderesses - was right.

I'd heard the term 'baby farming' before (it was first used by the British Medical Journal as long ago as 1867) but now I needed to find out more.

I began reading everything I could, including a transcript of Amelia's Old Bailey trial and, as I did so, I started to uncover a story so astonishing and sad it is now the basis of a new novel, The Ghost Of Lily Painter, by Caitlin Davies.

Legitimate baby farmers provided a much-needed service for pregnant unmarried women in Victorian and Edwardian times.

These women were often servant girls who were forced to 'farm' out their illegitimate child to avoid scandal or to keep their jobs.

Such women had few choices at a time when even orphanages might refuse to take a child born out of wedlock.

Advertising their services in the local Press, baby farmers charged a weekly sum - five shillings a week in 1890s London - or a oneoff 'premium' ranging from £5 to £50 to have the baby adopted or fostered.

Most were honest and caring. Some, though, starved, abandoned or even murdered the babies to maximise their profits.

Sach and Walters were two of seven baby farmers executed between 1871 and 1908, often following sensational trials.

Some figures suggest that half of all babies born in Edwardian London died before they were one.

Burials were expensive and barely a week went by without police finding a little dead body abandoned in a railway carriage, or left on the banks of a canal.

Two weeks after Sach and Walters were arrested, nine starving children were found in a house not far away in Wood Green, including two babies lying in the lid of an old rush basket.

The elderly woman in charge had received £30 to care for each child.

Amelia Sach was a midwife who arrived in London where her father, an odd-job man, had found work.

Shortly after her father died, she married Jeffrey, a builder, and they had a daughter, Lillian.

Perhaps he provided the money she needed to get her business off the ground because, in her early 30s, Amelia decided to open a 'lying in' home, where unmarried pregnant women could stay before giving birth.

By 1902 she was working from Claymore House, a semi-detached, red-brick villa in East Finchley, North London.

She put an advertisement in the local papers under the name Nurse Thorne: 'Accouchement, before and during. Skilled nursing. Home comforts. Baby can remain.'

The phrase 'baby can remain' meant that an unmarried pregnant woman could go to the lying-in home, give birth, and leave without the child.

Once the child was born, Amelia would offer to arrange an adoption; assuring her clients that for £25, their offspring would start a new life with a 'well-to-do lady'.

But according to newspaper reports and evidence at their subsequent trial, her colleague Annie Walters - a highly disturbed 54-year-old midwife - removed the babies from the lying-in home, drugged them with a lethal narcotic and then wandered the streets looking for somewhere to dump them.

In the winter of 1902, Walters took lodgings at Danbury Street, Islington, where she asked the landlady if she could bring a baby back for one night before it was adopted.

On November 12, she received a telegram from Claymore House - 'To-night, at five o'clock' - and Walters set off for the lying-in home.

She brought a baby back to Danbury Street. Two days later the boy had gone.

Walters told her landlady that the adoptive parent, a widowed lady in Piccadilly, was delighted and the baby was now finely dressed in 'muslin and lace'.

On November 15 she received another telegram, and brought home another baby, telling a fellow lodger: 'This one is going to a coastguard's wife at South Kensington.'

Her actions had already aroused suspicion and this time the police placed a watch on Danbury Street.

On November 18, Walters was followed to Kensington Station where she was discovered in the ladies' lavatory with a dead infant in her arms, his hands clenched, his tongue swollen and lips purple and black.

The victim was the four-day-old son of Ada Charlotte Galley, a servant who had recently given birth at Claymore House.

The cause of death was said to be asphyxia and Sach and Walters were arrested for murder.

Walters admitted having given the child chlorodyne, a lethal but widely available mixture of chloroform, cannabis and opium, originally used as a treatment for cholera.

Walters was probably addicted to it herself, telling the arresting officer: 'I never killed the baby, I only gave it two little drops in its bottle, the same as I take myself.'

Sach was charged as an accessory and, in the eyes of the police, the existence of the telegrams was enough to prove her role in the crime.

In January 1903 the women stood trial at the Old Bailey. Both pleaded innocent, although neither took the stand.

An all-male jury quickly convicted them and the Press denounced the 'horrible and extensive traffic in babies' and their 'unwomanly callousness'.

The case was reported as far away as Australia. When police searched Claymore House they found 300 items of baby clothing in Amelia Sach's bedroom.

When the police arrested her, she denied knowing any Annie Walters, although there's no doubt she had sent the telegrams.

It is far from absolute proof that she was a willing accomplice, although I suspect she was not entirely innocent.

It was enough, certainly, to convince the jury, and on February 3, 1903, Sach and Walters were executed together on a newly built scaffold in the yard of Holloway Prison.

It was the last double hanging in Britain and with them - or at least soon after - went the trade in babies.

Five years later the Children And Young Persons Act required all foster parents to be registered, and the industry dwindled.

For me the story won't be over until I find out more about my greatgrandmother Eunice.

It seems she never told a soul about her sister. When she married three years after the execution, she changed her first name to Mabel and changed her father's name on the marriage certificate, as well as his occupation.

Only in 1930, 14 years after the death of her husband, did she revert to her real name. The crime has lost none of its power to inspire revulsion, by the way.

When I told my family what I'd found, one relative, worried what people would think, advised me to keep things to myself. It is no wonder the story was so well hidden.

How do I feel about having a murderess in the family? We might not like the truth when we find it, but we can't ignore it.

It's human nature to want to know our roots. I come from a poor family, so there have been no documents or photographs to help me during my search; their lives were not chronicled.

In this story at least, there has been no happy ending, only a terrible family secret and more than a century of denial. But even that is better than nothing at all.

Sach, Amelia (1873-1902); Walters, Annie (d. 1902)

SEX: 2F RACE: W TYPE: T MOTIVE: CE

DATE(S): 189?-1902

VENUE: London, England

VICTIMS: "Numerous"

MO: "Baby farmers" who killed infants of unwed mothers

DISPOSITION: Hanged together, 1902.




Amelia Sach


Baby farm: Claymore House where Sach lived.
 
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