The Alice Mitchell murder trial gripped the city of Perth and the nation. This book retraces this infamous 'baby farm' tragedy, which led to legislative changes to protect children's welfare.
In 1907, Perth woman Alice Mitchell was arrested for the murder of five-month-old Ethel Booth. During the inquest and subsequent trial, the state was horrified to learn that at least 37 infants had died in Mitchell's care in the previous six years. It became clear that she had been running a 'baby farm', making a profit out of caring for the children of single mothers and other 'unfortunate women'.
The case raised questions about how so many infants could die, in apparently squalid conditions, implicating Perth's first female health inspector, Harriet Lenihan, who visited regularly and Dr Edward Officer, a children's specialist, who had signed most of the death certificates.