Thursday, 14 January 2016

Mother and Baby in Lake

A woman who drowned her baby in the lake of a Liverpool park was charged with murder but found to be insane.

On the afternoon of Saturday 16th January 1943 two boys were playing in Greenbank Park and saw a woman wade out of the boating lake. She then said 'Where is my baby, we are mental.' A member of the Women's Land Army, Betty Critchley, was passing and swam into the lake, retrieving the body of her two year old daughter Freda.

The woman in question was 31 year old Robina Rackham, whose husband was away in the merchant navy. She was taken to hospital where a note was found in her clothing which said 'mother and baby in lake, we are losing our minds - Rackham 106 Salisbury Road, Liverpool 15.' When the police questioned her, she said that both she and Freda were incurably ill and she felt that her daughter would be better off dead. A post mortem however showed that the little girl had been in good health and when charged Robina said 'I don't know whats the matter with me.'

At the Manchester assizes Robina the court heard that Robina had been a very loving mother to her daughter. She was found guilty but insane and ordered to be detained at His Majesty's Pleasure. The judge thanked Miss Critchley, saying what she had done was 'plucky and creditable on a cold winter's afternoon'.

Robinha lived to the age of eighty and died at a nursing home in Ullet Road in 1992. She was buried alongside Freda at Toxteth Park Cemetery.

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