Amelia Dyer was born the youngest of five children, in the small village of Pyle Marsh. She was the daughter of a master shoe maker Samuel Hobley and Sarah Hobley. She learned to read and write but although she lived somewhat of a privileged life it was tainted by the mental illness of her mother, caused by typhus. Amelia witnessed her mother’s violent fits and cared for her until she died in 1848. As the years progressed Amelia became estranged from her family, moving onto marry George Thomas. A couple years after marrying George Thomas Amelia trained as a nurse under the guidance of Ellen Dane. Ellen taught her the easier way of living showing her to use her home as a lodge for woman who had conceived illegitimately and then farming off their babies for adoption or allowing them to die of malnutrition and neglect. Unmarried mothers in the Victorian era struggled to gain income because of the Poor Law Amendment Act, which removed any financial obligation from the fathers of the illegitimate children. This world opened up to Amelia with the death of her husband and birth of her daughter.
Amelia began advertising her services claiming she would provide a safe, nurturing home for children who needed it. At some point in her baby farming career, Dyer was prepared to forego letting the children die. After receiving the payment for each child, she murdered them and pocketed the cash. Dyer was eventually caught after a doctor became suspicious about the number of death certificates filed under Dyer’s care. However rather than being convicted of murder she was sentenced to six months hard labor for neglect. This experience took its toll on her mental state. Upon release she attempted to resume her nursing career. She had spells in mental hospitals due to her alleged mental instability and suicidal tendencies. She is believed to have been abusing alcohol and opium-based products early in her killing career. She...
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