Men filled the colourful life of 49-year-old Maria Lee, but like so many women who kill she hated them deep down. She had been married four times and thrice divorced when she was sacked for theft in 1947 from her job with a Cape Town jeweller.
At that time her new boy friend, Alwyn Smith, was also her fence for the property she was stealing, but he had no further use for her when she was sacked. Realising her vulnerable position, Maria laced his food with ant poison and he promptly died.
Convicted of his murder, Maria was sentenced to hang. Standing on the gallows on Friday, September 17th, 1948, she told the hangman: A better world awaits me where I am now going.