Britain's First Serial Killer

Mike Wabe

Medieval World
East of England
Notice Period:
Short (maybe less than one month's notice)
Paid: £45 plus a small fee for travel
19th November 2017

Mary Ann Cotton, otherwise known as the Black Widow claims the right to be known as Britain’s first serial killer.

Two decades before Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror, Mary Ann Cotton had already become a killing machine. But strangely, even crime historians, those familiar with the names of Shipman, Nilsen, Sutcliffe and West, know little or nothing of her. She has been largely erased from history and remains today only a half-remembered local curiosity, even in her native North East.

In the 20 years from 1852 to 1872, Mary Ann Cotton killed some 21 people, whilst posing as a wife, widow, mother, nurse and friend. Among her victims were 8 of her own children, 7 stepchildren, her mother, 3 husbands, a lover and an inconvenient friend.

Hear how she committed these dastardly crimes and wonder why she would do such a thing. Discover how she was eventually caught and what happened to her.

The presentation lasts for about 60 minutes and is suitable for all ages, including schools.

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About Mike Wabe

My work history is 29 years a police officer, followed by 4 years as a manager for Autoglass, then by 10 years as a prison officer and ending with 3 years as an Inclusion Manager in a secondary school. I am now a Town Crier, a wedding Toastmaster, run my own murder mystery business and have been a speaker for over 14 years. My website ( gives details of the talks and presentations I can offer.

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