Amen Court – The Amelia Dyer Chronicles

29-01-2014 Wednesday

22.30ImageAmen Court 

We sat there in silence for a little while. Outside you could hear the wind whistling through the trees. Tension built up as Mr Bent’s eyes darkened a little. He turned round very slowly, took a deep breath and sighed very heavily.

‘Sooner or later somebody was bound to find a body or two. A couple of fishermen were the unfortunate souls in this case. In their nets they found two very strange looking fish. They were the corpses of two babies. A police investigation lead to Amelia Dyer who was sent to New Gate Prison (that’s where the Old Baily is now). She was sentenced to death and had to stay in prison until the day of her hanging.

Between New Gate Prison and the wall at Amen Court there was a path called Dead Man’s Walk. It was named so for two reasons. First all those that were about to go air dancing had to walk across that path towards the gallows. Secondly, after you were hanged, they’d burry you underneath that path. Basically that meant you were walking on the graves of many (ex) prisoners and in fact also on your own grave. Dead Man’s Walk was aptly named.

On the day of her hanging Amelia Dyer walked amongst other prisoners towards her own death on Dead Man’s Walk. As she was walking she noticed a young warden along the path. A handsome boy indeed, so she looked him straight into the eyes and Scott – as was his name – looked back into hers. She came nearer and nearer and the kept staring each other in the eyes. When she was about to pass him she stared even deeper into his lovely eyes and whispered,’ I’ll meet you again someday, sir.’ As you can understand that was a very strange thing to say for a woman who about to make a long drop and a short stop.

Scott was a bit startled but had soon forgotten about it and continued working at New Gate Prison. After a couple of years he had completely forgotten all about it and was sitting in the staff room eating his food. As he was minding his own business he heard a voice calling. He had heard the voice before. Scott ran to the window and there she was, looking him into his eyes the same way she had done years before, saying those exact same words,’ I’ll meet you again some day, sir.’

Scott couldn’t believe his eyes. He ran outside to the place where she was, but she was gone. Vanished into thin air. She did leave him a little farewell present. Her handkerchief lay on the ground at the place she had stood. Scott picked it up and as I far as I know he kept his entire life, but never saw her again. And that, young Arthur, was the story of the Amelia Dyer – the baby farm murderer.’

I was completely frozen. The silence that fell cannot be described on a piece of paper. As if the temperature in the room had suddenly dropped below zero, my whole body felt numb. I just sat there and stared at Mr Bent in complete awe. Even stumbling words seemed impossible. Mr Bent stood up very slowly and walked into the kitchen to put away the cups. I just sat there staring, blinking, thinking.

See me tomorrow.