Last weekend I had what we call a “Ray Day” with friends in New Hampshire. A Ray Day is when we sit and watch tv all day while eating and eating and eating and eating. Anyway… so we watched a documentary series called Murder Maps on Netflix. WOW. And that is how I came upon this woman’s story- Marie Manning. I highly recommend watching the show, very informative and well done.
Marie Manning (1821 – 1849) was born in Switzerland, and became a domestic servant in England to Lady Palk of Haldon House, Devon and then to Lady Blantyre at Stafford House. She married Frederick George Manning in 1847. Frederick had a very shady past. Before Marie married him, she came in contact with one Patrick O’Connor. Patrick was extremely wealthy and worked as a money lender, charging a LOT of interest to his clients. Patrick and Marie continued their friendship after her marriage and it is suspected it was romantic in nature. Ok… I’m going to go with it was DEFINITELY an affair, and Frederick knew about it, but was too drunk to care.
On August 9, 1849, Frederick and Marie murdered Patrick in their home and buried him under the flagstones in their own kitchen. Yup- right there in the kitchen floor. Did anyone think this out? Who wants to eat over a rotting corpse? Well, Marie went straight to Patrick’s home and stole all of his railway shares and his money. But there was a double-cross going on. Marie took most of the stolen property, ditched Frederick and fled to Edinburgh, while Frederick, in a panic, took whatever he could get his hands on and fled to the island of Jersey.
The law caught up with the murderous duo rather quickly for the times, and they were put on trial at the Old Bailey in October 1849. During the trial, Marie never once looked at her husband. They were found guilty and sentenced to hanging.
This was a very public execution in which hundreds, if not thousands of citizens attended. Charles Dickens was also in attendance and was horrified by the behavior of the crowd. So much so, and wrote a letter to the newspapers expressing his disgust. “I was a witness of the execution at Horsemonger Lane this morning” “I believe that the a sight so inconceivably awful as the wickedness and levity of the crowd collected at that execution this morning.” “When the two miserable creatures who attracted all this ghastly sight about them were turned quivering into the air there was no more emotion, no more pity, no more thought that two immortal souls had gone to judgement, than if the name of Christ had never been heard in this world.”
Like I said, watch the show. But there is a bit more on the case here: http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/mannings.html