Misjudged Murderesses (Paperback)
Female Injustice in Victorian Britain
Lacing tea with poison and slipping arsenic in to soup, this is what comes to mind we talk of murderesses of the Victorian age. Fuelled by a rumour-driven press and cases of notorious killers like Marry Ann Cotton, the Angel of Death, or Christiana Edmunds, the Chocolate Cream Killer, death by poisoning was a great anxiety of Victorian Britain.
But what about those women who were wrongly convicted? What about the suspects who fell victim of a biased jury and unrelenting press? What about these suspects who fell victim to domineering judges controlling complacent juries and the unrelenting press? In Misjudged Murderesses, Stephen Jakobi takes a forensic approach to examine the lives and trials of these eight women who were wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. With the aid of primary sources, and in three cases the ready assistance of descendants and local journalists, Misjudged Murderesses demonstrates the unfairness of their convictions even by the standards of the time. Highlighting common factors in poisoning cases that led to these miscarriages of justice, Stephen Jakobi shines a light on the hypocrisy of a legal system that in practice was wholly unfit for purpose.
As featured inThe Bookseller 10/5/19
We most often think of the Victorian female offender in her most archetypal and stereotypical roles; the polite lady shoplifter, stowing all manner of valuables beneath her voluminous crinolines, the tragic street waif of Dickensian fiction or the vicious femme fatale who wreaked her terrible revenge with copious poison. Yet the stories in popular novels and the ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ of the day have passed down to us only half the story of these women and their crimes. From the everyday street scuffles and pocket pickings of crowded slums, to the sensational trials that dominated national headlines;…By Lucy Williams
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