Martha Rendell was an Australian serial killer, a sadistic piece of scum who in the early 1900s killed three of her de-facto husband’s children by coating the inside of their throats with diluted hydrochloric acid.
Rendell had stolen the children’s father, one Thomas Morris, away from his wife, who was then kicked out of the house by her idiot husband and forbidden to see the children – sort of like the modern Family Court with the sexes reversed.
Martha was a monster of a woman who delighted in abusing the children and who seemed to have no motive other than the pleasure she derived from torturing them. One neighbor even claimed that on several occasions she had peeked in Martha’s window to see what all the screaming was about, and had seen Martha smiling with delight as she watched one of her victims writhing in pain. Other neighbors claimed to have heard Martha laughing over the children’s screams.
Rendell’s method was as simple as it was cruel. She would simply place a small amount of acid in the victim’s drink. This would lead to a sore throat which the family doctor would then order treated by coatings of a certain medication, a medication for which Martha then substituted the diluted hydrochloric acid. The acid being diluted it took her young victims weeks to die, though it remains unclear whether they died from the acid itself or from starvation due to not being able to eat.
Rendell’s luck ran out when she tried the same acid-in-the-tea trick on the fourth Morris child, a teenage boy who unlike his father knew scum when he saw it. Young George Morris ran for his life to his real mother’s house, and his disappearance led the already suspicious neighbors to call the police, who eventually uncovered the sickening killing spree and charged Martha with murder. In September of 1909 Rendell was found guilty and sentenced to hang, a punishment which seems rather genteel compared to her crimes – a nice long bath in some diluted acid would seem much more fitting to this writer.
Due to the two fatty deposits on Rendell’s chest the death sentence led to much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, with various baby-kissers and clergymen making it clear that a woman’s life is worth more than that of three children, but decency won out and on the 6th of October 1909 Martha Rendell was led to the noose by two female attendants, presumably so that she wouldn’t get felt up on her way to hell…
Most of this information was sourced from “Australia’s Serial Killers” by Paul Kidd.