Title: Misjudged Murderesses:
Female Injustice in Victorian Britain
Author: Stephen Jakobi
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Publication Date: October 16, 2019
Genres: Nonfiction, True Crime
Lacing tea with poison and slipping arsenic in to soup, this is what
comes to mind we talk of murderesses of the Victorian age. Fuelled by a
rumor-driven press and cases of notorious killers like Marry Ann Cotton,
the ‘Angel of Death’, or Christiana Edmunds, the ‘Chocolate Cream
Killer’, death by poisoning was a great anxiety of Victorian Britain.
But what about those women who were wrongly convicted? What
about the suspects who fell victim of a biased jury and unrelenting press?
In Misjudged Murderesses, Stephen Jakobi takes a forensic approach to
examine the trials of six women falsely sentenced for crimes they didn’t
commit. With the aid of primary sources, and in two cases the ready
assistance of descendants and local journalists, the validity of their
convictions is questioned. Highlighting common factors in poisoning
cases that led to ostensible miscarriages of justice, Jakobi shines
a light on a flawed and inconsistent legal system.
About the Author
After Cambridge, Stephen Jakobi began a career in industry. His strong belief in justice led him to become a solicitor, working in private practice. In 1992 he founded the Human Rights organization Fair Trials International and was adviser to the European institutions on subjects ranging from Guantánamo to the European arrest warrant. He was awarded an OBE in 2005. Author of In the Mind of a Female Serial Killer (2017), Misjudged Murderesses is his second book.
In 1990 he became involved in a cause celebre involving 2 teenagers arrested in Thailand for drug smuggling and eventually took over the conduct of the defence of the elder one, Karyn Smith. The high-profile battle to free her which eventually resulted in her release attracted an increasing number of other clients in trouble with the law overseas and in 1992 Jakobi formed Fair Trials , an organisation specialising in supporting cases of merit involving citizens facing injustice out of country. Finding it impossible to continue in private practice and acting for these new specialist clients he retired from private practice in 1993, when Karen Smith was freed.