July 25, 2011

Amelia Dyer - The Angel Maker"

Written by Rosa Morgan

March 31, 1896 Amelia Dyer took a seat at the back of the train. It was a blustery day to be out, but as a widow, she had to rely on herself to put food on the table. The gentleman, perusing his newspaper beside her, commented, "They've found another body." "Excuse me?" Dyer said in alarm. "A body?" "Forgive me, it's not a seemly matter to discuss with a woman," the gentleman said, tipping his derby. Smiling, the matronly Dyer pressed him, "Do go on; I've experience as a nurse and midwife, and have unfortunately witnessed firsthand the seedier side of life." The gentleman conceded, "Jack the Ripper is at it again. Another prostitute cut up from stem to stern." Dyer clucked her tongue, "No rhyme or reason that I can figure behind those murders. And why does he get so much publicity? It's only eighteen murders so far." The man was taken aback by the woman's remark, but said nothing more as she got off at the next station.

Dyer tweaked the bow round her neck; it was paramount to make a good impression with her clients, for that is how she viewed the young women who came to her, as simply a business transaction. Evelina Marmon clutched her doe eyed infant to her breast. Tears blurred her vision as she searched the crowd for the woman in the advertisement: a married woman with a country home desiring a child to raise as her own.
Dyer chirped sympathetically, "It's me, deary, come to save you from your heartache."

Evelina was a twenty-five year old barmaid, who had her little Doris out of wedlock. She didn't even know who the father was, and even if she did, the Poor Law had removed financial obligation from fathers of illegitimate children. "I'm sorry, but, I can't do this!" Evelina cried. "Please let me pay the weekly rate for you to take care of her. I'll visit every chance I get, and once I'm back on my feet, I'll take her back. I just need time to sort things out."
Dyer cooed, "Come now, girl, be rational, if not for your own sake, then for your child's. Without a father, she'll have no future. Give me the £10 we agreed upon, and don't look back. A clean break is best for the both of you."
Evelina's heart broke as she handed her precious child over. "Promise me, you'll love her with all your heart."
Dyer gave her most reassuring maternal smile. "I'll raise your dear little girl as if she were my very own." She then picked up her carpetbag and disappeared into the crowd.

Dyer got home at 76 Mayo Road, Willesden, London, and went directly to the back room. The nearly three month old Doris was hungry and wet, and fussing for her mother. Fetching a length of white edging tape, Dyer tied it around the child's chubby little neck, but instead of a sweet bow, it was a knot to strangle her. Each time Dyer undertook this dastardly deed, she was equally fascinated to watch the infant's struggle for life. Dyer's own 23-year-old daughter poked her head into the room, asking, "Why the white tape, Mum?" Dyer answered with pride, "When the police find her, they'll know it's one of mine. Consider me an angel maker. I'm sending them straight to heaven."

In a period of over twenty years, Amelia Dyer, killed over 400 children. -->
On June 10, 1896, she was hanged at Newgate Prison.

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