“My husband wouldn’t give me a divorce, so I poisoned him with arsenic,” Maria Groesbeek told police when they came to arrest her. She had scarcely ever been happy in her marriage to Christian Buys. First they lived with his mother and his six brothers, and when Maria quarrelled with her mother-in-law they got their marching orders. In the next 17 years the unhappy couple had 14 different homes.

Maria’s husband constantly accused her of flirting, and in exasperation he beat her regularly.

Then 20-year-old Gerhard Groesbeek, a friend of her husband, came into her life. She fell in love and wanted a divorce so that she could marry him. It was refused.

Furious, Maria bought ant poison containing arsenic and laced her husband’s food with it. He died on March 28th, 1969, and 10 weeks later she married Gerhard Groesbeek.

“This was a planned murder,” the judge told her at her murder trial in November 1969. “You fed your husband enough arsenic to poison an army.” Maria agreed. “I just wanted to avenge myself on him,” she replied. “I wanted to make him thoroughly sick.” She was 33 when she was hanged on Friday, November 13th, 1970, at Bloemfontein.