Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.









Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Alcohol
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 27, 1734
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: 1701
Victim profile: Her daughter Mary Defour, 2
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to death on February 27, 1734. Executed by hanging on March 8, 1734

Children Become Victims of Gin Craze

With parents gin-soaked much of the time, children became collateral damage.

Two-year-old Mary Defour was a victim of her mother’s craving for gin. The case is recorded in the Proceedings of the Old Bailey.

Judith Defour had placed her child in a London workhouse. On February 27, 1734, she took the child out of the workhouse for a few hours as she was entitled to do. Then she met up with a friend identified only as Sukey.

The court document records her sorry story: “On Sunday Night we took the Child into the Fields, and stripp’d it, and ty’d a Linen Handkerchief hard about its Neck to keep it from crying, and then laid it in a Ditch. And after that, we went together, and sold the Coat and Stay for a Shilling, and the Petticoat and Stockings for a Groat. We parted the Money, and join’d for a Quartern of Gin.”

The child died and Judith Defour was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.


Murdered for Gin

Mary Defour, illegitimate daughter of Judith Defour, a ‘throwster’ (a person who twists silk filaments into a yarn) and John Cullender, a weaver from Spitalfields, was born about 1742 and baptised in Bethnal Green, London. Judith put the child in the workhouse, but one day in 1744, she fraudulently obtained permission to take her out for a few hours. Just a week previously, the workhouse superintendent had given Mary new clothes; Judith stripped the child, strangled her with a rag and left her in a ditch. She then sold the clothes for ‘a shilling and a groat’ (a groat was four pence, so 7p in today’s money) and she spent the money on gin.

Judith was tried at the Old Bailey and sentenced to death. She ‘pleaded her belly’, a means whereby pregnant women could usually have their death sentences commuted, but a ‘jury of matrons’ declared that she was not pregnant.

This seems to be the first recorded instance of a Cullender coming into close contact with the worst effects of alcohol. A century later the Barnet branch of the family were staunch teetotallers and all belonged to the Salvation Army, citing the evil they had seen in London slums as their motivation. It is not inconceivable that it was this sad story that was at the heart of that conviction. This story (but not the Cullender connection) is often quoted in accounts of the conditions that led to England attempting prohibition, and eventually raising taxes on gin. It also happened at the time that Hogarth was engraving his famous 'Gin Lane', and helping Thomas Coram to fund his revolutionary foundling hospital in London. The Coram Family Museum opened in 2004; its curator is Rhiann Harris, who also has Cullender connections.


The Proceedings of the Old Bailey

36. Judith Defour, was indicted for the Murder of Mary Defour, otherwise Cullinder, by choaking and strangling her with a Piece of Line , Jan. 29.

She was a second Time indicted on the Coroner's Inquisition for the said Murder.

John Wolveridge . I live in the Fields leading to Bethnal-green. About a Month ago, I heard an Outcry that a Child was murder'd in the Field. I went to the Place, and found a Child dead; it appear 'd to be upwards of two Years old. I found a black Circle about the Neck, and a Mark like the Print of a Thumb, under the right Ear. Some Gentlemen told me, they had seen three Women coming from the Place where the Child lay; and I afterwards found, that one of these three were the Prisoner, who was the Mother of the Child. I ask'd her, how she could be so barbarous as to murder her own Infant? She said she had only stripp'd it about 7 at Night, and laid it naked in the Ditch; and this was all that I could get out of her for a pretty while; but at last, in a violent Agony of Grief, she said, Then, Sir, I will tell you how I did it; but there was a Vagabond Creature, one Sukey, that persuaded me to it; and was equally concern'd with me. On Sunday Night we took the Child into the Fields, and stripp'd it, and ty'd a Linen Handkerchief hard about its Neck to keep it from crying, and then laid it in a Ditch. And after that, we went together, and sold the Coat and Stay for a Shilling, and the Petticoat and Stockings for a Groat. We parted the Money, and join'd for a Quartern of Gin. The Prisoner made the like Confession before Justice Chamberlain, insisting upon it, that the other Creature Sukey was equally guilty.

Elizabeth Scot . The Prisoner worked with me (at a Throwster's) she came to work at half an Hour past Seven, the Night the Murder was done, and work'd 'till Morning - She said, she had done something that deserved New gate, and at last, told us, she had left her Child in the Field all Night - We went to the Place, found the Child dead, and then went to the Church-wardens.

Susan Jones . When she came to work, over Night, we ask'd her if she had carry'd her Child back to the Work house (for the Child was kept in the Parish Work-house, and she had got Leave to take it out for 2 or 3 Hours) she told me, she had not, but her Mother had. She worked 'till One in the Morning, and then had a Dram, and would have had another, but I would not let her. Thn she desir'd a Penny to buy a Roll and Cheese. I gave her a Penny; but instead of fetching a Roll and Cheese, she brought in a Roll and a h'p'orth of Gin - Then she said, she had done something that deserved Newgate. I told her I hoped she had not wrong' my Mistress, but if she had, her best way would be to make a plain Confession, and then I believe my Mistress, would be the more favourable to her. She said it was no such thing as that; but she had left her Child all Night in the Field. What? says I, in such a dismal cold Night! How can you be so cruel ? She said she had not done it, but one Sukey persuaded her to it. So I bid Elizabeth Scot take a piece of Bread and Butter, and go with me and the Prisoner to fetch the Child, for the Prisoner had not told me the Child was dead, and I thought it would be a hungry as well as Cold. But when we came to the Place, we found the Child stript and lying dead in a Ditch, with a Linnen-rag tied hard about its poor Neck.

Jane Prig . The Prisoner came on Sunday to take the Child out, but I would not let her, without an Order from the Church-Wardens; so she went away, and came again in half an Hour, and brought a Note, as from the Church-Warden, and upon that I let her have the Child out; but I afterwards found that the Church-Warden had given no such Note - The Child had been New-clothed but the Thursday before.

Job London . Surgeon. About the Fore-part of the Child's Neck, I observed part of a black Circle, like that in executed Persons, and I believe the Violence it was done with, was the Cause of her Death.

Then the Prisoner's Confession, before the Justice, being proved, was read in Court.

The Examination and Confession of Judith Defour, taken this 30th Day of January 1733, before me one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said County.

' THIS Examinant confesseth, that about ' two Years and three Months since, she ' was deliver'd of a female bastard Child, be- ' got on her Body, by one John Cullender , ' who lives in Spittle-Fields Market, by ' Trade a Weaver; and that the said ' Child was haptized by the Name of Mary, ' and that her said Child, Mary hath been ' for some Weeks past in the Work house, ' belonging to the Hamlet of Bethnal-green, in ' the said Country of Middlesex; and that she ' went on Sunday last, about 9 or 10 in the ' Morning to the Work-house, to see her ' said Child, and found the Child had been ' within a few Days new clothed. And that ' she took away her Child, and kept it with ' her, till about 6 or 7 a Clock in the ' Evening, when being in Company with ' one Susannah - her Surname to her ' unknown; but that she has a Sister now ' in Shoreditch Work-house, who (that is, ' Susannah, not her Sister) pursaded her, ' this Examinant, to sell the Child's Clothes, ' and carry it into the Fields and leave it ' there. That they went both of them together ' into a Field near Joan Harding 's, where ' they stripp'd the said Child, and ty'd a linen ' Rag very hard about the Child's Neck, ' to prevent its crying out, which strangled ' her, and that afterwards, they went together, ' leaving the Child behind in a Ditch, ' near dead, to one Mary Witts , who lives ' in Swan-Yard, in the Parish of St. Leonard ' Shoreditch, and sold the Clothes, that is to ' say, a Coat, Stays, Petticoat, and Stockings ' to the said Witts, and received for them ' Sixteen-pence, and that they parted the Money ' equally between them.

The Mark of Judith + Defour.

Taken before me the Day and Year above written. Anthony Chamberlain .

Prisoner. I did not think to do any thing to the Child, but that wicked Creature Sukey seduced me to it.

Judith Defour , the Prisoner's Mother. She never was in her right Mind, but was always roving.

Mary Favoary . I have known her two Years, and never knew any Harm of her.

The Jury found her guilty. Death.


Ordinary's Account, 8th March 1734.

THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE, His ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Dying Words, OF THE MALEFACTORS, Who were EXECUTED at TYBURN, On FRIDAY the 8th of this Instant March, 1734.


Number III. For the said YEAR.


Printed and Sold by JOHN APPLEBEE, in Bolt-Court, near the Leg-Tavern, Fleet-street. M.DCC.XXXIV.

[Price Four-Pence.]

AT the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol-Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Honourable Sir William Billers, Knt. Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Honourable Mr. Baron Carter; the Honourable Mr. Baron Thompson, Recorder of the City of London; the Worshipful Mr. Serjeant Urlin, Deputy-Recorder of the City of London; and others his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer for the City of London; and Justices of Gaol-Delivery of Newgate holden for the said City and County of Middlesex,) at Justice Hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday and Thursday, the 27th and 28th of February, and Friday the 1st. of March, 1733-4, in the Seventh Year of his Majesty's Reign.

Six Men, viz. William Davis, Edward Tudor, Caleb Charlesworth, Henry Crane, Ralph Holbrook and Joseph Ditton; and one Woman, viz. Judith Leford, otherwise Defour, or Defoy, were convicted of capital Crimes, and receiv'd Sentence of Death.

Most of them having been Young, and all of them unacquainted with, or not accustom'd to religious Duties and Exercises, I shew'd them that those performances are so far from being an impossible task, (as wicked dispos'd People would represent them to be) that they are not extreme difficult when Men set about them in earnest. By the grace of God, and care of pious Parents, several good Souls are train'd up as soon as may be, to the keeping of Baptismal innocence, and performance of their Solemn engagements. They are taught to know God, and to fear him, to know good and ill; and in reverence to God, to do the good, and refuse the ill, as soon as they are capable of knowing any thing. Now here religion grows up with them, and corrupt Passions and evil Customs (which are other Peoples great complaints and difficulties) are stifled and prevented from the first, and never come to grow headstrong, or have any Power to reign in them; so that what difficulties they find in religion, are chiefly the Pains and Services of religious Actions; not those self denials, and mortification of corrupt Lusts and evil Habits, which create so much trouble to other Persons.

But the greatest Part, among the chief of whom they are to be reckon'd, have alas given way to their Lusts, and subjected themselves to wicked Customs, and their Work is not retaining innocence, but recovering it, and rectifying and amending transgressions; now in amending our Lives, and obeying God after we have made ourselves thus averse to his Obedience, there is difficulty and pains at first. Our former courses and customs generally must be alter'd, our Friends sometimes disoblig'd our temporal interest cross'd and thwarted, and our natural Lusts formerly indulged, now gain-said and conquer'd. All this is against our inclination, which is a force upon any Man, and that while it lasts, will make an uneasiness in Religion. But to cure this, God's grace will be working in us, and new moulding of our Natures; and by use we shall grow perfect and inclinable to good Things, which we set our selves to Practice; so that after God's grace and our own virtuous usage have gone on for some due Time, the case will be alter'd, and religion will appear not only a reasonable and beneficial, but likewise an agreeable Thing. Divine Aids, and good Customs, will give us a new Sence of all our Duties, and make them almost always fairly tolerable, and usually delightful Things. And thus our Lord encourages us to his Service. Take my Yoke upon you, and learn of me, for my Yoke is easy, and my Burthen light, Matt. 11. 29, 30. And St. John speaking of keeping his Commandments, for our comforts adds, that those Commandments are not grievous. 1. John. 5. 3.

Some indeed reply, that there are Severities in religion, expressed, By cutting off right Hands, and plucking out right Eyes; to take up the Cross, and patiently suffer Persecutions; to watch and strive, and wrestle against Spiritual enemies, and that these are hard things, which they cannot comply with; but it must be observ'd that these and the like places of Scripture, speak only the difficulties of Religion in some less common cases, as Persecutions, in which the increase of difficulty is so answered by a proportionable increase of Strength, as makes it a tollerable Task to encounter them, or the hardships of it, at Mens new entering on it, after they had done much to unfit themselves for it; at which time, as is said, it doth call for more Pains. Or lastly, such diligent and just care, and watchfulness afterwards, as admits of comfort and delight, enough to Sweeten it to us, &c.

Judith Defour, having been convicted for the cruel Murder of her own Child: I expos'd to her the unnaturalness, and barbarity of the horrid crime of Murder, more particularly as committed upon her own Infant, between two and three years of Age, not capable of giving any manner of provocation to any Person; whose tender Years pleaded for Pity and Compassion, at the Hands of all Mankind. I exclaim'd against the Sin of uncleanness, to which she was habitually addicted, which prov'd the occasion of her after misfortunes, and of her committing Murder upon her own Child; and this I shew'd her to be almost the same, as committed upon herself, since the Child was a part of herself: And therefore I seriously exhorted her to repent of that heinous Sin, which prov'd her to be void of all bowels of Pitty and Compassion, and to cry incessantly unto God for Pardon, that she might be wash'd in the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, who came to do away the Sins of the World, from the guilt of innocent Blood, and all her other Sins.

They were also instructed in the Nature of true Repentance, how necessary it was to repent of all their Sins, particularly of Theft and Robbery, a Crime so destructive of all human Society, and therefore liable to the highest Punishment, in all civiliz'd and polite Nations, to which they ought to submit, as a just Chastisement for their Sins, acknowledging the Afflictions they met with, to be infinitely less than what they deserv'd; for why should a living Man complain, a Man for the Punishment of his Sins?

I shew'd them the Nature of the Christian Sacraments, that they were dedicated to God in Baptism, and that having broken their Baptisma Engagements in a grievous Manner, it was requisite to renew their Vows of Obedience to the Laws and Gospel of Jesus Christ, by receiving the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, wherein all the Blessings of the new Covenant are made over, and confirmed to them who truly believe.

When these and many other Instructions were given, they who could read made regular Responses, and all of them behav'd well, and were apparently devout and serious, and attentive both to Prayers and Exhortations. Most of them, especially Crane and Holbrook wept pretty often, but it may be suspected, that it was more for fear of Death, than an Effect of true Repentance. Judith Defour was very hard-hearted, once she wept when I spoke of Murder; but afterwards, when I preach'd upon that Subject, she sat quiet and did not appear concern'd, though I expos'd her Crime in the most moving and plain Terms: She was altogether ignorant of God and Religion, and could remember nothing I told her, so that in such pitiful Circumstances, I have not seen one more stupid, nor less thoughtful. They behav'd better and more modestly, than such unhappy Creatures use frequently to do.

Upon Tuesday, the Fifth of March, Report was made to his Majesty in Council, of the seven Malefactors under Sentence of Death, lying in the Cells of Newgate; when Joseph Ditton, for robbing his Fellow-Servant Hugh Heughs, by breaking open his Trunk, and stealing thence Ten Guineas and a gold Ring; and William Davis, for robbing his Master, a Gentleman who lives nigh the Town, by going into his Bed-Chamber, while the Gentleman was asleep, and stealing out of his Breeches-Pocket Forty Guineas, receiv'd his Majesty's most gracious Reprieve: The remaining Five, viz. Edward Tudor, Caleb Charlesworth, Henry Crane, Ralph Holbrook, and Judith Leford, alias Defour, or Defoy, were order'd for Execution.

Judith Leford, alias Defour or Defoy, was indicted for the Murder of her own Child on the 29th of January last, an Infant between two and three Years of Age, by strangling it with a Handkerchief, after she had stript it naked, and then throwing her into a Ditch, near Bethnal Green, wounding her in the Head, and leaving her to perish there.

She was a second Time found guilty upon the Coroner's Inquest. Death.

1. Judith Leford, alias Defour or Defoy, about thirty Years of Age, of honest, but mean Parents in Spittle-Fields, who gave her no Education at School, and as little did they instruct her in the Christian Religion, of which she was intirely ignorant. Her Father having been a French Weaver, she was employ'd in serving the Weavers, in winding Silk , and such like Business, and in this way she served one Mistress eleven Years honestly, and with Reputation, and then leaving her, she went to a Master, with whom she liv'd four Years, was his House-keeper , and winded Silk for him. In this Service she fell into bad Company, and had a Bastard-Child, which died; and then she had another, the unfortunate Child lately murder'd by her, of which Crime she was convicted, and for which she was to suffer an ignominious Death, which she very justly deserv'd for such a barbarous Murder. The Account she gave of the Murder was to this Effect:

The Child was kept in a Work-House, and she used sometimes to visit her, and make much of her, and to carry her out into the Fields to give her the Air; accordingly, upon the 29th Day of January last, she went to the Work-House, and tho Keepers and Nurses suspecting no manner of Harm, but that before Night she would bring back the Child, as she used to do, they allow'd her to carry out her Daughter, with whom she went into the Fields, and another Woman in Company, which was one of the most vilest of Creatures in or about the Town. She blamed her for the Murder, alledging, that such an execrable Villainy never enter'd into her Head; but as they were walking along, this Woman propos'd to strip the Child, being pretty well cloathed, and having new Stays, which she told her would fell well; the Mother spoke faintly against it, but when they came to a Ditch by Bethnal-Green, the barbarous, unnatural Mother yielded to the most wicked Proposal made by the other Woman, whom she allow'd to strip the innocent Child, smiling at the same Time in the Mother's Face, and calling out, Mammy; for she could speak no more, having neither come to the use of her Tongue, nor Feet: Then they drew a Handkerchief about its Neck, each of them pulling the Ends of it, in order to strangle the Child; and lastly they threw her into the Ditch and left her, but the other Woman observing Life in the Child, upon which the Mother of it went back and struck her on the Head with a Stone or Brick-brat, which gave the finishing Stroke. This she was not willing to confess, but when told of the Wound in the Head, she could not with confidence deny it, but held her Peace.

They came to Town, and the other Woman sold the Coat and Stays for a Shilling, and dispos'd of the rest of the Cloaths for Four-pence, which she said they equally divided, and afterterwards join'd for a Quartern of Gin with this Sukey (which was the other Woman's Name) who was concern'd with her; and she hearing that the Child's Mother was taken up, she fled, as not doubting but she would have deservedly undergone the same Fate.

When all this was a doing, her Conscience sting'd her most severely, and she own'd she was in the greatest Agonies and Tortures imaginable: I ask'd her, if it was in her Power to hinder her? She said it was, but she only forbid her to do it faintly, in the mean Time suffering her to do what she pleas'd. The People of the Work-House asking after the Child, she confess'd the Fact to them, and to her Mistress, upon which they caus'd her to be taken up, and she went with her Mistress, and shew'd her the Child lying naked and dead in the Ditch, who was mightily mov'd with Compassion at so horrid a Sight.

I represented to her the dreadful Barbarity and Cruelty of such a monstrous unnatural Action, where no Provocation could be given. She did not in the least pretend any Excuse, only that the other Creature contriv'd, and mostly executed the whole Tragedy. She was very stupid and had little to say upon any Head. I have scarce ever seen one so grosly ignorant of Religion, and after all the Pains I took to inculcate some first Principles, she minded nothing. On Sunday Afternoon the third Instant, when I insisted upon Murther, she wept a little; and upon Tuesday following, Joseph Ditton; one of the Criminals under Sentence, who always behaved very decently, and is now repriev'd sitting by her, before I came in, observing her very careless and indifferent, desired her to repent and to think upon the dangerous State she was in; she lamented that she was never taught any thing about God and Religion, and added, O! that my Parents had taught me something of the Knowledge of God, which I was never instructed in, till now when (it may be fear'd) its out of time; and sometimes I heard her fetch grievous Sigh and Groans; these were the only outward Signs of Repentance I took notice of in her, all the time she lay under Sentence; only she said, she was very sorry for what was done, that she never was at Peace since it happened, that she scarce desired to live; and therefore she made a voluntary Confession she had been always of a very surly Disposition, and untractable Creature, a Despiser of Religion, negligent in her Duty to God and Man, and would take no good Advice of her Friends, nor of any good or sober People. She drank and swore much, and was averse to Virtue and Sobriety, delighting in the vilest Companies, and ready to Practice the worst of Actions. She acknowledged the Justice of her Sentence, and died in Peace with all Mankind.



home last updates contact