Baby-farmer Minnie Dean hanged

12 August 1895

In 1895 Minnie Dean became the first (and only) woman to be hanged by law in New Zealand.

Known as the ‘Winton baby farmer’, she had been convicted of the murder of baby Dorothy Edith Carter following a sensational trial in Invercargill. Dean was hanged at 8 a.m. at Invercargill Gaol. Newspapers reported that ‘She walked firmly to the scaffold, and said in answer to the Sheriff − “I have nothing to say except that I am innocent.” There was no hitch in the arrangements, and the prisoner’s death was instantaneous.’

Image: During the trial, miniature hatboxes with baby dolls in them were sold outside the courthouse.