Criminal Women. Famous London Cases by John J. Eddleston

By John J. Eddleston

Women have occasionally been noticeable as much less criminally prone than males. yet, as John Eddleston indicates during this revealing anthology of girl crimes in London, this photo is difficult to mesh with fact, for the city's historical past is crowded with instances of girls who broke the legislations. In shiny element he reconstructs a chain of dramatic, frequently harrowing situations during which girls have been concerned and places their acts within the context in their occasions. Taking episodes from the eighteenth century to close the current day, he seems at legal girls of every kind, from all walks of lifestyles. The paintings of the London police, the courts and the prisons is a vital point in his research, and every bankruptcy finds a lot approximately how attitudes to crime and punishment have replaced over the centuries.

Fascinating pictures of those felony girls as participants emerge from their tales - their situations come to existence - as does the London within which they lived. They contain Catherine Hayes who was once burnt alive for murdering her...

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Catherine was able to watch the death throes of all nine men, including those of her son, Billings. Then it came to her turn to die. Although the sentence for petty treason was to be burned alive, mercy was invariably shown to such unfortunates. A cord was fastened around the condemned woman’s neck, passed through a hole in the stake to which she was tied, and then to the executioner’s hand. The custom was that the condemned woman would be strangled before the flames could reach her. Unfortunately, on this occasion, luck was not on Catherine’s side.

This may illustrate how women really fared within society itself. Two offences are actually not known, since the records are lost, leaving us with fifty-three women who stood in the dock. Of these fifty-three, one was charged with murder, one with bigamy, one with highway robbery, two with coining, and five with burglary. The remaining forty-three were all charged with theft. Could it be that the way society treated women led to so many falling foul of the law out of pure necessity? In short, were they forced to steal in order to survive, and so those were largely the offences which caused them to be taken to court.

This is due to a number of factors, which include: the judicial procedure; how women were perceived by society; the types of crime they committed; and the punishments available. Let us consider each of these in turn. The perception of women in society. For hundreds of years, men and women were thought to have fundamentally different emotional make-ups, qualities and virtues. Thus, men were the stronger sex, and consequently were perceived to be more intelligent and possess greater courage. Women were more governed by their emotions and were, therefore, modest, chaste and compassionate.

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