Black Country Muse



Post Reply
Forum Home > Murder Case Reviews > Mary Ann Cotton. Hanged 1873.

Site Owner
Posts: 1413

One of the " Classic Cases " of Victorian Murders, with an alleged 20 victims to her name, and there are quite a number of Books, which include the woman who was, at the time, far more deadlier than the male. That she had a tough upbringing, is beyond dispute, but then again, so did thousands of others who did not go on to murder so many. Mary Ann Robson, ( Her birth name ) was without doubt a woman who only ever thought of herself, which explains why she comes across as a cold hearted individual. On the morning of her execution, she prayed for her new born child, her legal husband, James Robinson, ( A very lucky man ) and for some reason, her stepfather, George Stott. ( Was he, I wonder, also seduced by her good looks and curvacious figure ) Not a trace of remorse for all the others, they were, it seems, just stepping stones towards her aim of better social standing. Another glimpse into her character reveals, that even on the scaffold, in the grim East Wing of Durham Gaol, she refused to confess to anything at all. William Calcraft, engaged by the Under Sheriff to carry out the execution, had arrived the night before, and as usual, on the day, was wearing his " uniform ", tatty black suit and tall hat. Also, as usual, he sported long hair and his untidy trademark beard, and again, as usual, he badly bungled the job. Robert Anderson was his assistant for the event, he certainly needed one, for he was now 73, having started in his " profession " around 1829. A white cap was placed over her head, and the rope, with the knot, was set under her right ear. He may have made a mistake here, for Mary Ann Cotton began to shake uncontrollably, and a steadying hand was needed. The drop should have broken her neck, but it failed, and the witness's had to stand and watch while she kicked and struggled, as she was slowly strangled to death. After three minutes of this grotesque spectical, Calcraft crossed the platform,  put his weight on her shoulders, and in a few seconds, all movement ceased. He simply shrugged and walked back to his position. Immediately after the body was taken down, there was the standard inquest into her death, where the Jurors suggested that the rope used, should be buried with her. They were far too late, Calcraft and his assistant, together with the rope,and the fee, were already on the way out of the prison. It would fetch a tidy price when cut into portions, much more than Mary Ann Cotton had collected in Insurance money. There is a fuller version of the crime in the other website topic, " The Ultimate Crime ".


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

December 15, 2012 at 3:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.