Three pretty young girls smiled sweetly as their boss, Mrs. Rattan Jain, handed each of them a little fruit cake to eat with their tea. It was May Day, 1954, and the girls worked in the New Delhi fertility clinic owned by Mrs. Jain, 35, and her partner and lover, Mikhi Ram Jain.

What the three teenage employees never knew as they clutched their stomachs and began to vomit was that the cakes were laced with white arsenic.

Within the next 24 hours all three of the stricken girls died. Before succumbing, two of them told police that Mrs. Jain had given them cakes while they were at work. Post-mortems revealed the white arsenic.

Witnesses at Mrs. Jain’s trial for the triple-murder testified that she was insanely jealous of the girls. She was convinced that her partner had slept with one or all three of them.

Throughout her trial she showed almost complete indifference to the proceedings. On Monday, January 3rd, 1955, still parading her courtroom composure, she went unsupported to the gallows, to become the first woman ever to be hanged in New Delhi.

She also had the unenviable distinction of being the first woman executed in India in the seven and a half years since 1947, when self-government was achieved.