Murder in New Zealand: Minnie Dean the Baby Murderer

2/20/2010 04:38:00 PM ·

Val Mills describes the Victorian age when many women were desperate to rid themselves of unwanted children, and some occasions, that called for drastic measures. Minnie Dean, on the other hand, was on the other end of this conspiracy. She had desired a child and had purchased one from a baby farmer. She was later suspected of smuggling one off a train and it was found buried in the garden.

Baby farming was widespread in late Victorian times, when effective contraception was not widely available and unmarried mothers were ostracized. Desperate women contacted baby farmers, who for a price took these unwanted babies. In the days before official adoption, sometimes these babies were adopted for a lump sum payment. Other babies were taken into care for regular payments. Unfortunately, the people involved in this practice did not have the welfare of the babies at heart, and it was financially more viable if the babies in their care died or were disposed of mysteriously. Read more about Minnie Dean's story

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