England · Executions · Female Killers · Newspaper clippings

Two women are executed for kidnapping, murdering, and selling of the corpse of a young boy

March 18, 1752
Edinburgh, Scotland
Helen Torrance and Jean Waldie are hanged for the kidnapping, murder, and sale of the corpse of an 8- or 9-year-old boy

As this article published in The Day on Thursday, January 12, 1832 (80 years after the fact) shows using court records, the defense of the suspects hinged on the fact that the two were known to be the kidnappers, and known to have sold the corpse, but no witnesses could be found to provide testimony they actually killed the child. And, because kidnapping carried a minor sentence and selling a corpse carried no sentence at all, they should only be charged for the kidnapping.

The judge and jury disagreed with the defense and believed that if the women kidnapped the child and sold his body, they likely murdered him as well. Both women were hanged on March 18 in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh.

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