Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Insidious Frances Knorr







Insidious Frances Knorr

Frances Knorr, formerly known as Minnie Thwaites had a very dark secret she was holding on too. In 1892, Mrs Knorr was wanted by the South Australian police for interviewing about a number of pretty crimes, and something much more serious, but Mrs Knorr had already left Port Adelaide, where she had been renting a house, and moved back to her home city of Melbourne, leaving her husband to serve a term in Adelaide Gaol for selling the families furniture, which they had not yet paid off.
Mrs Knorr was a nondescript woman, height 5ft. 2in, (157.4 cm.) fair complexion, very stout build, light brown hair, very large peculiar-shaped mouth, very talkative, and spoke with a lisp, someone you would probably walk past and not even notice. She had come to Australia from England on board the ship the Abyssinia in 1887, and only a couple of years later married a German man by the name of Rudolph Knorr, a waiter and well known swindler.
 Mrs Knorr, now back in Melbourne with her newborn baby, soon shacked up with Edward Thompson, a fish mongers assistant, and turned to dress making for an income. Thompson soon left Knorr, and she was on her own again, it was at this point she had an idea to make extra money, which would later be her downfall.
 In 1893, Ms Knorr was charged by Victorian Police for a most heinous and serious crime, that had taken place over a number years, through various suburbs of Melbourne, Adelaide and Port Adelaide.
 Mrs Knorr was, what was known in those times, as a “Baby Farmer”.
Mrs Knorr offered a service to destitute Mothers, or Mothers whose babies were born out of wedlock, which in those days was shameful act. The new mothers would pay Mrs Knorr in advance to look after their babies, she would provide food and shelter.
Often the mothers would want to see the baby when they came to pay their accounts, but Mrs Knorr always had a timely excuse as to why the mother could not see her child. Then one day, the mother would come to pay their account, and Mrs Knorr and the baby would be long gone.
 Mrs Knorr was an opportunist of pure evil. The babies would come to her, and often she would sell them off to childless couples or God knows whom else. If there was no buyer, the child would be strangled and buried in the back yard of the rental property. Before suspicion was aroused, Mrs Knorr would move on to the next rental property, and not be seen again.
The death mask of Frances Knorr
In the year 2000, a man who was renovating a house in Queenstown, Port Adelaide, discovered under his floor boards, the remains of three young children, wrapped in cloth.
 Police Forensics were called, and their investigation found the children were all very young, just months old. They had all been killed, and had been purposely placed in their resting place. They were also found to have been dead for a significantly long amount of time.
Interestingly, this house is only street away from one that records show, Ms Knorr rented herself.
 Mrs Knorr moved around between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and within those cities frequently moved house. When her husband Rudi was released they returned to Sydney. In the following weeks, the bodies of three infants were discovered in the house Mrs Knorr had previously occupied in Brunswick, Victoria.
 Mrs Knorr was arrested in Sydney, and allowed to have her own baby, as she was very much pregnant at the time, giving birth on September 4th 1893. She was sent back to Melbourne for trial after the birth.
She denied any knowledge of wrong doing until convicted and facing the death penalty, it was then she confessed to her crimes with the following statement and warning for others
“Placed as I am now within a few hours of my death, I express a strong desire that this statement be made public, with the hope that my fall will not only be a warning to others, but also act as a deterrent to those who are perhaps carrying on the same practice. “
 Mrs Frances Knorr was sentenced to death by hanging in Melbourne’s Pentridge Gaol, the act of which took place on the 15th of January 1894.
 On her way to the gallows, Mrs Knorr sang the hymn “Abide with me” her last words were “'The Lord is with me, I do not fear what man can do unto me, for I have peace, perfect peace'


-Allen Tiller
www.AllenTiller.com.au