The Woman Known As the “Dark Angel”


In 1852, Mary Anne Cotton married a laborer. Seven out of eight of her children died of gastric fever. Later, her husband died of an intestinal disorder. She remarried and it wasn’t long before her second husband died. Soon after, her mother passed away as well. Later, her last remaining child and her second husband’s children died. Her third husband kicked her out. Later, her fourth husband died, as well as his sister and his son from a previous marriage. After 20 years of mysterious deaths, a police investigation found that she was poisoning her victims with arsenic in order to collect insurance money. In total, Mary Cotton killed 21 people. Mary Ann Cotton’s trial began on March 5, 1873 and lasted three days. She was found guilty of her husband’s murder and for the deaths of her children, three husbands, one lover, and her mother. She was hanged on March 24, 1873 in front of 50 witnesses. She maintained her innocence to the end.