Women who had a baby they didnt want in the 19th century went along to see Jesse King, who took care of the problem for them. Although Edinburgh Police believed she killed many children for financial gain, she was tried for murdering only three. On one charge the jury returned the Scottish verdict of Not proven, and on the other two she was sentenced to death. She was hanged on Monday, MARCH 11th, 1889, at the citys Calton Prison.
Besides killing some babies and farming out others to prospective parents, Jesse King was a laundrywoman in the Stockbridge area. She lived with a man named Thomas Pearson who was originally arrested with her. Released, Pearson gave evidence against her at the citys High Court, where her trial lasted only one day and where the defence claimed that she acted under Pearsons influence and was insane.
The two murders for which she was sent to the gallows involved one-year-old Alexander Gunn, and a baby of only a few months named Violet Thompson. She was the first woman hanged in Scotland since 1862 and the last until 1923.