Evil Female Murderers. Part 14

This postcard shows Shepherd's Bush Tram Terminus with London United Tramways and was posted on the 5th September 1905
In 1831 chloroform was developed by a chemist named Dr. Samual Guthrie. He combined it with whiskey to produce a cheap pesticide. But it was Scottish physician, Sir James Young Simpson, who used the sweet, colorless, and non-flammable liquid as an anesthetic. It was administered by dripping the liquid onto a sponge or cloth and held over the nose and mouth of the patient.
Open-drop method
Amelia Sach
Annie Walters.
Pen drawing of Amelia Sach and Annie Walters from the News of The World
Amelia Sach and Annie Walters are hanged at Holloway prison, for killing new-born babies unwanted by their mothers. Date 1903.
On Tuesday 3rd February 1903 both women were hanged at Holloway prison by William Billington and Henry Pierrpoint. They held one record as they were the first women to be hanged at Holloway Prison.

Sach, Amelia and Annie Walters.

Amelia Sach was baptised Frances Amelia Thorne in Hampreston, Dorset, on 5th May 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. This was a maternity home.

Sach herself was a mother; the England and Wales census of 1901 shows that a child was born to her at Clapton. She lied about her age – she was 32 and not 29 as she claimed.

Meanwhile Annie Walters’s background was unknown, but she had been married. She seems to have had a ‘drinking’ problem and that 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 they may have been involved together in an earlier homicide that resulted in another woman being executed for a crime she may not have committed.

In 1899, Louise Masset was tried for the murder of her young son, Manfred, whose body was found in a ladies’ lavatory at Dalston Junction Railway Station. It is true that 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 stated that the boy had been taken away from one career to be placed with another two women carers. The Police had claimed that they had looked into this but the two women couldn’t be found. As to how much they put effort into looking for them is unknown. Louise was tried and found guilty of the murder of her little boy, Manfred. Despite a strong petition for mercy from many different quarters, she was executed in January 1900, the first person to be executed in the new century.

Amelia Sach appeared to be a very kindly soul who actually doted over children… As a result she opened a nursing Home in East Finchley, London, because she was so concerned about their welfare  She catered in particular for unwed mothers in their hour of need. Sach’s clients were recruited through advertisements in the newspapers. Accouchement: before and during, skilled nursing, Home comforts and the baby can remain.

The final clincher of the advertisement was the ‘clincher,’ with Amelia promising to make arrangements for ‘adoption,’ if an extra fee of £25 or even £50 was paid. In fact, the infants were delivered to her simple-minded side kick, 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 Waters the child of an unwed mother named galley, instructing her to dispose of the body as always. Ignoring her order, Annie took the infant home ‘as company.’ This surprised her landlord (who also happened to be a policeman.) Waters explained that she was keeping the child as a favour to some friends, who lived in Kensington… While explaining the reason she had the baby, she seemed very confused. While then chatting to the landlord’s wife, Annie referred to the baby as a ‘dear little girl,’ but the landlady knew the baby as a boy, having recently changed it’s nappy…

When Annie’s tiny roommate died, a few days later, rather inconvenient questions were defrayed in deference to her grief. However, the tears seemed real enough or were they? Two months later she produced another infant, this one also accidentally dying, this time in its sleep.

Interrogation of their suspect led detectives to the nursing home and both women were interviewed at length.

They were both arrested and charged and held in custody for trial at the Old Bailey. 

The Trial.

The trial was given a lot of publicity and became known as the ‘baby farming’ case. Annie Waters was 54 years of age at this point, being described as a widow but very fond of young children and lodged at No. 11, Danbury Street, Islington. She was charged with the wilful murder of some children; while Amelia Sach, aged 29 years and married of Claymore House, East Finchley – a maternity home – was charged with an accessory to the murders.

Mr. Bodkin, represented the Treasury at the inquest touching on one the cases, said Claymore House was a ‘private’ nursing home where expectant mothers were taken in for £1or at times 15 shillings a week after a first payment of 3 guineas. Among Mrs. Sach’s patients were two young women named Pardoe and Galley, Mrs. Sach represented to them that she knew ‘wealthy and fine ladies’ who would adopt their children when they were born. They arranged to pay her £30 and £25 respectively. Counsel then described how Mrs. Walters on the 29th October took a room at No. 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 and who could not afford to keep them, and she employed her (Mrs. Walters) to take them to wealthy women who would then adopted them. She said that she was waiting for a telegram from Mrs. Sach as to the adoption of a child by a wealthy lady in Piccadilly, who was going to pay £100.

On the 21st November Miss Pardoe gave birth to a baby girl and the same morning Mrs. Walters received a telegram: 5o’clock tonight Sach, Finchley. She left the house and returned with a little baby, that 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 later after the birth of the baby, presented the baby to its mother saying” Now kiss it goodbye.” The mother never saw the baby again.

The baby’s father paid Mrs. Sach £30 in bank notes and these had been traced.

It was reported that on the 14th November Mrs. Walters had left her lodgings carrying a bundle, and the child was never seen again. Her movements that day was uncertain but at 3pm she was at one of Lockhart’s cocoa rooms in Whitechapel with a bundle, of which one of the attendants, a Miss Jones, took particular notice. The wrap had fallen off and Miss Jones stated she saw something that resembled 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,’ and that it had been in hospital, she also mentioned that it was a boy just on 7 days old. She added it had had an operation. She was going to take it to Finchley with him. Miss Jones said that she was of the opinion that the baby was then dead. It would be shown, that at 9am that morning the baby had been strong and healthy.

It was reported that Mrs. Walters returned home about 8pm that evening apparently the worse for drink, and, throwing some baby’s clothes across the table to Mrs. Seal said ‘There you are, these are for you.’ She continued ‘Poor little thing, indeed’ exclaimed Walters. ‘You should have seen it in its laces.’ She gave the idea that the wealthy lady, she had spoken about earlier, who was to pay £100 to adopt the child.

Mr. Bodkin then dealt with Miss Galley’s child, ‘a healthy vigorous little boy’ which is the subject of the present charge. Mrs. Sach received the sum of £25 for it. It was taken away by Mrs. Walters. By this time Police Constable Seal, the landlord of the house was very suspicious of Walters, some things did not add up; she had received two telegrams and sent off some letters sealed with red wax… He thought from this that something was definitely wrong. He then sent his son, Albert, a very smart young lad of 14 years, to watch her and also later informed his senior officer.

In court the young boy, Albert told a dramatic story while he was in the witness box. It was called a ‘smart piece of detective work.’ He said he watched Mrs. Walters on the Saturday, 15th November. She came out about 6.30pm and got on a tramway car. He followed the tram by running from ‘Angel to Highbury, in North London.’ She then got onto a tramway car at the Archway Tavern. Walters then met a young lady, aged about 25 or 26 years old. She was stylishly dressed and looked very smart. They both 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 Mrs. Walters return home with a baby.

On Tuesday the 18th November, Albert was watching again. Detective left the house about 9am that morning carrying what appeared to be a baby. She frequently looked back over her shoulder to see if anyone was following her, which they were not. Little more than an hour later Walters was arrested with a dead baby in her arms.

The newspaper, The Echo dated 16th January 1903 reported that:

On the resumption of the trial at The Old Bailey today of the trial for murder, before Mr. Justice Darling, of the two married women, Annie Walters, 51 years and Amelia Sach 29 years, in connection with the conduct of a ‘nursing home’, Claymore House in East Finchley and the death of an unknown infant sometime in November of last year. A new witness was called for the prosecution, in the presence of Mr. Conrad Lambert. He was 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.

Another witness, Teresa Edwards, who was working at the ‘Home’ as a domestic servant at Claymore House for some months, said she wrote the advertisement at the dictation of the prisoner Sach as follows: –

‘Doctor recommends comfortable home, skilled nurses, every care, comfortable home, – Nurse 4, Stanley Road, East Finchley.’

A large number of other witnesses appeared for the prosecution including Dr. Joseph Pepper, the local police surgeon who reported the findings of the post mortem. In his opinion the child died from asphyxia and caused by a narcotic poison. Answering a question he replied that the death is consistent with the administration of Chlorodyne.

At the end of the trial, the Jury retired and after about an hour and returned to give a guilty verdict on both women. The judge sentenced them both to be hanged in the true sense of the law.

On Tuesday 3rd February 1903 both women were hanged at Holloway prison by William Billington and Henry Pierrpoint. They held one record as they were the first women to be hanged at Holloway Prison. Previously females were hanged at Newgate Prison.


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