The 26 years old murderess was 5' 2'' and was described as:
"Fair complexion, very stout build, light brown hair, very large
peculiar-shaped mouth, very talkative and speaks with a lisp."
In 1894 Frances Knorr was arrested in Melbourne, Australia for baby
Frances ran a clandestine baby minding service for destitute and
single mothers, with fees paid in advance. Frances sold some of the
babies to childless couples. However Frances strangled those she
couldn't sell and buried them in her garden. At least three children
was killed this way.
After her conviction Frances realized that she had no chance to be
spared. At last Frances confessed her guilt in a written statement.
"Placed as I am now within a few hours of my death, I express a
strong desire that this statement be made public, with the hope that
my fall will not only be a warning to others, but also act as a
deterrent to those who are perhaps carrying on the same practice." "I
now desire to state that upon the charges known in evidence as
Number 1 & 2 babies, I confess to be guilty."
Frances' execution was set for January 15, 1894, at 10.00 a.m.
A few minutes before 10 the witnesses were brought into the yard
and stood opposite the gallows waiting for the arrival of the sheriff.
From where they stood in silence they could hear Frances singing a
hymn in her cell, and some of them were visibly affected by this.
The condemned cell opened on the scaffold, and immediately oppotite
was another compartment in which the executioner and his
assistants, wearing false beards and spectacles, remained concealed
until their services were required.
They then entered the cell and pinioned her, before leadind her to the
scaffold. Her appearance had changed almost beyond recognition
since she received her sentence, but walking with a firm and steady
step, without support. Dr. Shields, the medical officer of the gaol,
attended her and she appeared to derive comfort from the
encouragement he gave.
Stepping on the trap, she stood quietly while her dress was being tied
around her ancles, and then the sheriff asked if she had anything to
say. In a clear and unbroken voice she said: "Yes, the Lord is with me!
I do not fear what men may do to me, for I have peace, perfect
The nooase was then adjusted, the trap released, and she fell 7 ft 6
ins. Death was recorded as being "instantaneous".