The documentary “Deadly Women: Cash In” on Investigation Discovery tells the story of the 1935 double homicide of Louisa Baguley and her daughter Ada Baguley in Nottingham, England. The episode demonstrates how, but for a last-second twist, the murderer almost got away with it. We have all the information you need if you’re curious about the case, the identity of the offender, or their whereabouts right now. So let’s get started, shall we?
How Did Louisa Baguley and Ada Baguley Die?
In January 1935, Mrs. Blagg, the Honorary Secretary of the County Nursing Association, moved Louisa Baguley, 89, and her daughter Ada Baguley, 50, to a nursing home at 32 Devon Road in Nottingham, England. The 80-year-old woman was reportedly too frail to care for her daughter, who had disseminated sclerosis, also known as “creeping paralysis,” and she also suffered from senility. The mother-daughter team had a good financial situation, but they needed a lot of care due to their advanced age and illness.
Louisa passed away on May 12, 1935, with natural causes first given as the cause of death. The attending physician concluded that she died of cardiovascular issues because of her advanced age and precarious health. He had no suspicions of foul play. The 89-year-old was buried right after after a death certificate was quickly prepared. Through the summer of 1935, Louisa’s daughter Ada was content to reside at the Devon Road nursing home. On September 10, one of her acquaintances, Mrs. Briggs, paid her a visit and discovered her to be in good spirits.
Reports claim that Mrs. Briggs even informed the nursing home administrators that she would be hosting Ada for tea at her home in a few days. But the next day, the 50-year-old fell into a coma and apparently passed away from a cerebral haemorrhage. However, an autopsy by Dr. W. W. Taylor, Senior Assistant to the Nottingham Analyst, revealed significant amounts of morphine in the woman’s stomach, liver, kidneys, and heart. Louisa’s body was consequently also excavated, and Dr. Roche Lynch conducted an autopsy to determine that even Louisa had passed away from morphine intoxication.
Who Killed Louisa Baguley and Ada Baguley?
The proprietor of the nursing home, Dorothea Nancy Waddingham, and her husband, Ronald Joseph Sullivan, were detained right once after it was shockingly discovered that Louisa and Ada had been murdered. According to reports, Thomas Willoughby Leech and Dorothea, also known as Nurse Waddingham, were wed in 1925. Three kids were born to her and him. He passed away from cancer in 1933 and was significantly older than his bride. On allegations of fraud and theft, Dorothea had previously served two prison terms.
Dorothea resumed using her maiden name after Thomas’ passing and started dating Ronald, a World War I soldier who had received the Military Medal for valour. Also, he had served in Ireland following the conflict. Dorothea and Ronald had two kids together even though they never wed. The couple faced serious financial difficulties due to the five children they had to raise and take care of until she came up with the idea to build a nursing home on their luxurious property at 32 Devon Drive in Nottingham.
Except from the knowledge she gathered while working on the wards of Trent Workhouse infirmary in Staffordshire after graduating from high school, the show claims that Dorothea lacked any official experience or professional medical degree. But, she lied to the county officials, who approved her nursing facility and thought she was a qualified nurse. Dorothea and Ronald were given the responsibility of caring after the Baguley mother-daughter team on January 12, 1935, in exchange for a weekly wage of thirty shillings (£1.50).
When Dorothea’s only other patient passed away in February 1935, she started having financial problems and grew weary of providing the Baguleys with the comprehensive care they needed for very little remuneration. She supposedly threatened to send Ada and her mother to the workhouse if she could no longer care for them, as was depicted in the episode. The latter, alarmed by the possibility, called her lawyer, Mr. Lane, and requested to modify her will. She had previously left her mother a £1,600 estate in trust and distributed the remaining funds equally amongst her two cousins.
Ada revised her will on May 4 to name Dorothea and Ronald as the only beneficiaries, with the proviso that they care for Louisa and her for the remainder of their lives. While her daughter passed away a few months later, the latter passed away six days after. Ada apparently requested to be cremated in a letter that Dorothea presented after her passing on August 29. Dr. Mansfield, the family physician, issued a death certificate as well as a certificate allowing cremation.
Dr. Cyril Banks, Nottingham’s Medical Officer for Health, grew wary after looking over the records, though. Reports state that Ada expressed her desire in writing to have her loved ones not be informed of her passing. Yet, Dr. Banks thought the tightly packed words had been added after the original letter had been written. Ada’s body was subjected to an autopsy, and the results revealed that morphine had been used as a poison. The cause of death for Louisa’s body, which was exhumed, was the same as for her daughter.
How Did Dorothea Waddingham Die?
On February 24, 1936, Dorothea and Ronald were jointly tried for murder at Nottingham Assizes. Due to a lack of evidence, the latter was dismissed from the case on the second day of the trial, but his partner was convicted. The clinic’s doctor refuted Dorothea’s assertion that she had given morphine on his orders. He said that instead of Ada, he had prescribed the medication for Mrs. Kemp, a different patient. The jury found Dorothea guilty on February 27 but also recommended leniency.
But, the judge and home secretary disregarded the plea for mercy, and Dorothea received a death sentence. She was transferred to Birmingham’s Winson Green prison since Nottingham was no longer equipped with an execution facility. On April 16, 1936, Dorothea’s death was scheduled after her appeals were turned down. She was hanged at 8:00 AM in spite of protests from thousands of activists outside the prison. The 36-year-old reportedly confessed to the double homicide just before being hanged, according to sources.
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