We think that the murder of children is a modern curse but it has been happening over the centuries. This infamous case concerned the murder, at Alton, of ‘sweet’ Fanny Adams, aged 8 years. This took place at Flood Meadow, on Saturday, 24th August 1867. To add to the horror, the victim had been decapitated and brutally mutilated. Body parts were spread over a wide area. Even by Victorian standards this was a horrific murder.
The murderer, Frederick Baker 29, was arrested within hours with bloodstained clothing, Damning evidence was an entry in his diary, “killed a young girl.”
Involved in the arrest were, Superintendent Cheyney and PC George Watkins.
Baker was tried at Winchester Assizes in December that year. The defence introduced evidence of a history of violent mental illnesses in Baker’s family but he was found guilty. The jury took 15 minutes to reach a verdict. Baker was publicly hanged on Christmas Eve the same month outside the county prison at Winchester and was watched by 5,000 spectators (mainly women). Swift justice indeed!
This was to be the last public hanging at Winchester although hanging continued into the 1960’s.
The photo shows the grave of “Sweet Fanny Adams” in the churchyard at Alton cemetery, Old Odiham Road (photo – BC)
Acknowledgement: Research by Bob Cameron
The Curtis Museum at Alton has more information in the form of a leaflet from which some of the above facts have been taken.
A detailed book entitled, “Sweet FA The True Story of Fanny Adams” was written and published by Peter Cansfield Associates in 2000 – ISBN 0-9536346-1-2
Many of the buildings referred to in the book still exist – except for the police station.
Town centre map of Alton, Hampshire. The flood meadow is clearly seen in the centre together with the footpaths criss-crossing the area.