This week I have taken a few liberties with the theme to tell you about a member of my husband's family.
Martha Needle or "The Black Widow of Richmond" took as her first husband Henry Needle who was a brother to my husband's great grandfather.
Martha Charles was born near Morgan, South Australia in 1863, an attractive woman with a kindly disposition she grew up in a violent and abusive household, and had shown signs of mental instability from an early age. At 17 she married Henry Needle at North Adelaide and in 1882 gave birth to a daughter Mabel followed by Elsie in 1883 and May in September 1886. The family moved to the Melbourne suburb of Richmond in 1885.
She was subsequently hanged in the Melbourne jail for murdering her husband Henry, her three small daughters and her future brother-in-law Louis Juncken, brother to her fiancee Otto Juncken. Her weapon of choice was rat poison (arsenic), which she administered in small doses until her victims weakened and died, supposedly from illnesses.
Her trial lasted 3 days despite a not guilty plea and the jury took 40 minutes to find her guilty. She was hanged on October 22nd 1894 at the age of 30. She was the last woman to be hanged in Australi
|Melbourne Jail Women's section around 1905.|
More details can be found by following the links above.
Liz Needle - linking with Sepia Saturday