From 1939, when she was married at the age of 18, to Tuesday, May 6th, 1958, when she had a date with the hangman, Margaret Rheeder was beset by domestic problems. Three years after their marriage, her husband walked out on her leaving her with two small children

She made ends meet by prostitution. When she met a man of 70, who moved in with her, she continued to take in clients. One of them was in bed with her when her estranged husband came home. Furious, he severely beat Margaret, while the client made good his escape. Two days later her husband fell ill and died.

A doctor wrote “Death by natural causes” on the certificate, but he was wrong. Following dark rumours which reached the ears of the police in Port Elizabeth, Cape Province, the body was dug up and found to be full of the arsenic a vengeful Margaret had bought to kill him. She was hanged in Pretoria Central Prison, despite a mercy plea by the jury on account of the ill-treatment she had suffered at the hands of many men.