December 30, 2013

Margaret Waters: Infamous Baby Farmer

The Execution of Mary Waters (from
On October 11, 1870, Margaret Waters, also known as the Brixton Baby Farmer, was hanged for murder in the Horsemonger Lane Goal, London, England, the first ever baby farmer to be executed.

Born in 1835, Margaret Waters took up baby farming to support herself after her husband died.  She would take in other people's infants for money but she soon found it more profitable to drug the babies with opiates, (which suppress the appetite)and then leave the babies to slowly starve. To dispose of the babies, she would wrap their bodies in brown paper and dump them on the streets, a common site in Victorian Britain due to the high cost of burial. At the time of her execution, she was thirty-four years old.

She is believed to have killed up to nineteen children. Waters was charged with five counts of willful murder, neglect, and conspiracy, Her sister, Sarah Ellis, was convicted in the same case for obtaining money under false pretenses She was sentenced to eighteen months hard labor.

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