Fire starter murder

Domestic violence is not a new crime. Many a Victorian lady suffered ill-treatment at the hands of a man. Back then there were not the range of charities and support groups to support women in violent situations that there are now and reporting such issues to the police were virtually unheard of.

G Fanny portraitOne Victorian lady who decided to meet out her own punishment on her abusive partner was Fanny Gilligan.

Back in 1911 42 year old Fanny had had enough of being treated badly by her partner James Higgins. Claiming he had ill-treated her and kicked her with his hob-nail boots she plotted out her revenge – murder.

When on a fateful winter’s day in December, a drunk James asked Fanny to take his boots off, she took her opportunity to pour lamp oil down his legs and put a match to him before running out of the room.

After James was taken to hospital, Fanny was found on the bathroom floor with a bottle of beer in one hand and a hobnail boot she claimed James had just kicked her with in the other.

She was sentenced to death, but there must have been some recognition that she too was a victim because the sentence was reduced to a 15 year prison term.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed