In the early 1900's, Amelia Sach, a midwife, ran a discreet lying-in home at Claymore House in East Finchley, London. On the surface she passed herself off as an adoption broker, but she and her partner, Annie Walters were actually involved in the unsavory business of baby farming.
Their clients consisted mostly of domestic servants who were afraid of losing their position if their employers found out they were pregnant. Sach promised that their babies would be placed with good families who wanted a child. The unwed mothers would come to her facility during the last months of their pregnancy. Once the baby was born, the infant would be turned over to Sach and the mother would leave with no questions asked. The entire process was kept confidential and no records were ever kept, for which Sach charged a hefty fee. Once the newborn was left in her care Sach would turn the infant over to Walters to dispose of.
On November 12, 1902, Annie Walters returned to her room she rented at 11 Danebury St. in Islington with a healthy-looking newborn. She explained to her landlady, Mrs Alice Seal, that she would be caring for the infant until the adoption process by a wealthy aristocrat in the West End was completed. Her landlady became suspicious when Walters left the house two days later with a carefully concealed bundle and the baby was nowhere to be found. She discussed her suspicions with her husband, a police sergeant.
On November 15, 1902 Walters again returned to her room with a baby girl and this time she related to her landlady that the baby was due to be adopted by a family in Kensington. She went out for a while and left the infant in the care of her landlady. When Mrs Seal changed the baby she discovered the infant was not a little girl but was in fact a baby boy.
On November 18, 1902 she left the house again with a mysterious bundle, but this time she was under police surveillance. She was followed to South Kensington Station and was arrested when she came out of the woman's restroom. When the bundle was unwrapped the police discovered the body of a newborn who had be suffocated. Walters explained to the police that the baby had been given to her by her partner Amelia Sach.
Walters was addicted to chlorodyne and she admitted to putting a couple of drops in the milk of the infants she cared for in order to keep them quiet. She insisted that she never killed the baby. Although no evidence of poisoning was found the cause of the infant's death was attributed to an overdose of chlorodyne.
Sach and Walters were arrested and when police searched Claymore House they turned up approximately 300 articles of baby's clothing. Although they were only charged with the murder of two infants they were suspected of murdering at least two dozen by either suffocation or poisoning with chlorodyne.
Amelia Sach and Annie Walters were executed by hanging at Holloway Prison on February 3, 1903.
When Sach and Walters were sentenced to death, aside from the letter written by Jeffrey Sach, no letters pleading for judicial leniency were sent for either woman. An article that appeared in the Morning Advertiser the day after their execution expressing the general sentiment of the public went as follows:
"Much may be forgiven, if not excused, in the case of the poor, young, frenzied mother, maddened by ruin and disgrace, who makes away with the evidence of her shame, the burden for which she cannot provide, and which prevents her from getting a living. But the wholesale murderesses, who trade upon her misery and despair, deserve no pity whatever."