Dyer did not travel to Reading, as she had told Marmon. She went instead to 76 Mayo Road, Willesden , London where her year-old daughter Polly was staying. There, Dyer quickly found some white edging tape used in dressmaking , wound it twice around the baby's neck and tied a knot.
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Death would not have been immediate. Both women allegedly helped to wrap the body in a napkin. They kept some of the clothes Marmon had packed; the rest was destined for the pawnbroker. Dyer paid the rent to the unwitting landlady, and gave her a pair of child's boots as a present for her little girl. However, with no spare white edging tape available, the length around Doris's corpse was removed and used to strangle the month-old boy. On 2 April, both bodies were stacked into a carpet bag , along with bricks for added weight.
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Dyer then headed for Reading. At a secluded spot she knew well near a weir at Caversham Lock , she forced the carpet bag through railings into the River Thames. Unbeknownst to Dyer, on 30 March , a package was retrieved from the Thames at Reading by a bargeman. The package Dyer dumped was not weighted adequately, and had been easily spotted. It contained the body of a baby girl, later identified as Helena Fry. In the small detective force available to Reading Borough Police , Detective Constable Anderson made a crucial breakthrough.
As well as finding a label from Temple Meads station , Bristol, he used microscopic analysis of the wrapping paper, and deciphered a faintly legible name—Mrs Thomas—and an address. This evidence was enough to lead police to Dyer, but they still had no strong evidence to connect her directly with a serious crime. Additional evidence they gleaned from witnesses, and information obtained from Bristol police, only served to increase their concerns, and D.
Anderson, with Sgt. James, placed Dyer's home under surveillance. Subsequent intelligence suggested that Dyer would abscond if she came at all under suspicion. The officers decided to use a young woman as a decoy, hoping she would be able to secure a meeting with Dyer to discuss her services. This may have been designed to help the detectives to positively link Dyer to her business activities, or it may have simply given them a reliable opportunity to arrest her. It transpired that Dyer was expecting her new client the decoy to call, but instead she found detectives waiting on her doorstep.
On 3 April Good Friday , police raided her home. They were apparently struck by the stench of human decomposition, although no human remains were found. There was, however, plenty of other related evidence, including white edging tape, telegrams regarding adoption arrangements, pawn tickets for children's clothing, receipts for advertisements and letters from mothers inquiring about the well-being of their children.
The police calculated that in the previous few months alone, at least twenty children had been placed in the care of a "Mrs. Thomas", now revealed to be Amelia Dyer. It also appeared that she was about to move home again, this time to Somerset. Dyer was arrested on 4 April and charged with murder. Her son-in-law Arthur Palmer was charged as an accessory.
During April, the Thames was dredged and six more bodies were discovered, including Doris Marmon and Harry Simmons—Dyer's last victims. Each baby had been strangled with white tape, which as she later told the police "was how you could tell it was one of mine". Arthur Palmer was discharged as the result of a confession written by Amelia Dyer.
The Horrifying Truth of Britain’s Baby Butcher Amelia Elizabeth Dyer Revealed
In Reading Gaol she wrote with her own spelling and punctuation preserved :. Sir will you kindly grant me the favour of presenting this to the magistrates on Saturday the 18th instant I have made this statement out, for I may not have the opportunity then I must relieve my mind I do know and I feel my days are numbered on this earth but I do feel it is an awful thing drawing innocent people into trouble I do know I shal have to answer before my Maker in Heaven for the awful crimes I have committed but as God Almighty is my judge in Heaven a on Hearth neither my daughter Mary Ann Palmer nor her husband Alfred Ernest Palmer I do most solemnly declare neither of them had any thing at all to do with it, they never knew I contemplated doing such a wicked thing until it was too late I am speaking the truth and nothing but the truth as I hope to be forgiven, I myself and I alone must stand before my Maker in Heaven to give an answer for it all witness my hand Amelia Dyer.
Her family and associates testified at her trial that they had been growing suspicious and uneasy about her activities, and it emerged that Dyer had narrowly escaped discovery on several occasions. Her daughter had given graphic evidence that ensured Dyer's conviction. The only defence Dyer offered was insanity : she had been twice committed to asylums in Bristol.
However, the prosecution argued successfully that her exhibitions of mental instability had been a ploy to avoid suspicion; both committals were said to have coincided with times when Dyer was concerned her crimes might have been exposed. It took the jury only four and a half minutes to find her guilty. In her three weeks in the condemned cell, she filled five exercise books with her "last true and only confession". Visited the night before her execution by the chaplain and asked if she had anything to confess, she offered him her exercise books, saying, "isn't this enough?
However, it was ruled that Dyer was already legally dead once sentenced and that therefore her evidence would be inadmissible. Thus, her execution was not delayed. On the eve of her execution Dyer heard that the charges against Polly had been dropped. It is uncertain how many more children Amelia Dyer murdered. The Dyer case caused a scandal. She became known as the "Ogress of Reading", and she inspired a popular ballad:. In times long ago, we'd 'a' made a big fy-er And roasted so nicely that wicked old jade.
Adoption laws were subsequently made stricter, giving local authorities the power to police baby farms in the hope of stamping out abuse.
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Despite this and the scrutinising of newspaper personal ads,  the trafficking and abuse of infants did not stop. Two years after Dyer's execution, railway workers inspecting carriages at Newton Abbot , Devon, found a parcel. Inside was a three-week-old girl but, though cold and wet, she was alive. The daughter of a widow, Jane Hill, the baby had been given to a Mrs. She had picked up the baby at Plymouth —and apparently dumped her on the next train. It has been claimed that "Mrs.
Stewart" was Polly, the daughter of Amelia Dyer. Because she was a murderer alive at the time of the Jack the Ripper killings, some have suggested that Dyer was Jack the Ripper, who killed the prostitutes through botched abortions. This suggestion was put forward by author William Stewart, although he preferred Mary Pearcey as his chosen suspect. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Amelia Dyer, ITV series.
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Hosted by Martina Cole. Broadcast Thames Valley Police. Archived from the original on 2 March Retrieved 17 October Cambridge: Harvard University Press, The Massacre of the Innocents , Routledge, p. The Massacre of the Innocents , Routledge. Massacre of the Innocents: Infanticide in Britain, She became the youngest of seven children when her two younger sisters died. Her father was a popular shoemaker and most likely was able to provide a simple yet comfortable life for his family.
Family members reported that after she recovered from typhus fever, a bacterial infection spread by fleas, lice, and chiggers, she began to have violent outbursts that lasted days. Somehow, Amelia became estranged from her family. When her father died in , Amelia was about 22 years old and her oldest brother inherited the family business. Without any financial support from her family and no legal way to claim any of the business, Amelia married a man considerably older than her.
George Thomas was 59 but lied about his age, stating that he was 45 and Amelia lied and stated that she was 30 instead of During the marriage, Amelia had at least one child, a daughter, that remained close to her, even working with her later in life.
As a married woman, Amelia trained as a nurse and a midwife. During her studies, Amelia met a woman that introduced her to the world of baby farming. It was possible for midwives to make money off of the unfortunate circumstances of single women who were pregnant. For a brief time, Amelia operated her own boarding house for pregnant, unmarried women.
After Amelia assisted the women with the delivery of their infants, they paid her to care for their newborns. Some women left the boarding house never caring what happened to their unwanted babies, while others wrote to Dyer, who rarely replied more than once, if ever.
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