Dorethea Nancy Waddingham

Dorethea Nancy Waddingham
AKA
DOB1899
OccupationNurse
Kill Total2
Kill PlaceNottingham
Kill Date1935
M.O.Poisoning
VictimMrs Baguley
Ada Baguley
In 1935 Dorothea and her lover 39-year-old Ronald Sullivan, opened a nursing home in Devon Drive, Nottingham.
Dorothea had a long criminal record with several convictions for fraud and petty theft.
Waddingham was her maiden name, she had started using it again after the death of her elderly husband.
She was left to bring up five children and opening a nursing home, with her as matron and Ronald Sullivan as a general assistant, seemed a reasonable way of earning a living. Dorothea’s medical experience consisted of a short time as ward orderly at the Burton-on-Trent Workhouse Infirmary.

January 1935  her first two patients were 89-year-old Mrs Baguley, who suffered from senility, and her 50-year-old daughter, Ada, who had creeping paralysis.
Mrs Baguley and Dorothea came to an agreement whereby the home would care for the two women, until their deaths, on condition that Mrs Baguley left Dorothea her entire estate. This came to about £1,600.

6th May 1935, Mrs Baguley rewrote her will to this effect. Six days later she died with the cause of death being given as cerebral haemorrhage (Stroke).
Nobody was particularly surprised and the woman’s death was attributed to old age. 

10th September 1935, Ada followed her mother 4-months later, with the cause again being given as cerebral haemorrhage. Dorothea now aroused suspicion by producing a letter, supposedly from Ada, dated 29th August. In it she requested that she be cremated and that her relatives not be informed of her death. Dorothea sent this letter to the Nottingham medical health officer with a request to approve cremation.
Dr Banks was sufficiently alarmed to order a post-mortem. This was carried out by Dr Roche Lynch, who found three grains of morphine in the corpse. After this discovery, the body of Mrs Baguley was exhumed and again a fatal dose of morphine was found. Dorothea and Ronald Sullivan were both arrested and charged with Ada Baguley’s murder.

4th February 1936, Their joint  trial began at Nottingham Assizes . It was quickly decided that there was insufficient evidence against Ronald Sullivan so he was discharged.
Dorothea tried to claim that she had given the morphine on the orders of the clinic’s doctor, he denied this but confirmed that he had prescribed morphine for another of the home’s patients, Mrs Kemp..

27th February 1936, the jury found Dorothea guilty but added a recommendation to mercy. The judge and Home Secretary ignored this.

16th April 1936, Dorothea Waddingham was hanged at Winson Green Prison, Birmingham by Tom and Albert Pierrepoint.
Dorothea confessed to the double murder shortly before the hanging.