Face of the day

Alrighty, I’m back into it after a small hiatus.

Events moved quickly in 1895. On 2 May a railway guard saw Dean board a train carrying a young baby and a hatbox. On the return trip he noticed she only had the hatbox, which, as railway porters later testified, was suspiciously heavy. After a fruitless search along the tracks, police unearthed from Dean’s garden the recently buried bodies of two babies – identified as Eva Hornsby and Dorothy Carter – and the skeleton of an older boy (whom Dean later claimed had drowned). An inquest determined that Dorothy Carter had died of an overdose of the opiate laudanum, commonly used to calm irritable infants.

Minnie Dean went on trial for Carter’s murder in Invercargill on 18 June 1895. She was defended by the renowned defence lawyer Alfred Hanlon, who later wrote that:

“Sober, home-loving folk from end to end of the country shuddered … when the grim and ghastly story of Minnie Dean’s infamy was narrated by the prosecution. Imagine a being with the name and appearance of a woman boldly using a public railway train for the destruction of her helpless victims, sitting serene and unperturbed in a carriage with one tiny corpse in a tin box at her feet and another enshrouded in a shawl and secured by travelling straps in the luggage rack at her head.”

Despite Hanlon’s defence that the baby’s death was accidental, on 21 June Dean was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. She was hanged at Invercargill gaol on 12 August 1895, earning the dubious honour of being the only woman ever executed in New Zealand. – source

There we go, I just knew colonialism was to blame for starting an baby killing epidemic in NZ.

We used to hang them, now we let them off or slap them with a wet WINZ ticket.


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