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Investigating 19th century crime

Angela Buckley's Blog

CSI Amelia Dyer

Do you enjoy a stroll by the river? If so, join us in Reading for a tour of the crime scene, where Victorian baby farmer Amelia Dyer, disposed of her young victims. Hosted by H Division Crime Club UK, I’ll be giving my very first guided walk of the key locations connected with this sinister story.

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The Mind of a Murderer

One of the mostly frequented asked questions at my talks is whether the notorious Victorian baby farmer Amelia Dyer was mad or bad. One hundred and twenty years after her conviction, it’s difficult to comprehend her motivation for killing so many infants in her care. It was also hard for contemporary observers to understand what drove her to profit from the wholesale trade in infants and ultimately to be able to murder them with her bare hands. Her trial at the Old Bailey, held in May 1896, discussed this central issue in detail.

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The Silent Killer

A keen collector of ‘crime artefacts’, I was thrilled to find an authentic Victorian laudanum bottle in an antiques emporium, and for only £6. It now sits alongside my poison bottle in my study. Recently I attended a conference on poison and poisoners, it piqued my interest in the lethal substance once sold in my precious bottles.

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The Henley Poisoner

On a visit to Oxford Castle, I was particularly intrigued by the tragic story of Mary Blandy, who was executed for poisoning her father in Henley-on-Thames, which is close to where I live. Although this case took place in the 18th century (outside my historical comfort zone), I decided to investigate…

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The Bembridge Smugglers

My Isle of Wight smuggling trail has already taken me to Shanklin and to St Helens, where I discovered the scandalous story of Sophie Dawes. I have uncovered many secrets of the Island’s shady past and visited some very atmospheric smugglers’ pubs (I wanted the full experience!). My next stop was Bembridge, where I enjoyed a delicious alfresco lunch in the Crab and Lobster, and came across some female smugglers.

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