The 10 Most Evil Women in History

Added by Nicola Porrill on Feb 10, 2019
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Beverly Allitt (born 1968)

In the days of modern medicine, when we send our children into hospital, we trust that they'll be looked after and have a pretty good chance of coming out in a better condition. Not so if the nurse was Beverly Allitt, who was dubbed the 'Angel of Death'. Anyone who is given that for a nickname has got to be evil, right?

She was working as a paediatric nurse in England when she killed four children, injured five more, and attacked another four who were in her care. Her methods of killing included insulin or potassium injections, or smothering. Remarkably, all of these deaths took place within the space of less than two months!

As an outsider, it's difficult to see how someone who had worked so hard to reach that point in her career could snap so suddenly, causing such devastation over such a short period of time. However, Münchausen syndrome is probably the underlying reason: it's a horrendous condition where someone in a position of care deliberately causes mental, psychological or behavioural problems to their patients. This isn't an excuse for what she did, but it's a reason - could she have been born to kill?

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Gertrude Baniszewski (1929-1990)

Being 'evil' doesn't just include killing. It can include a whole manner of behaviours such as manipulating, humiliating and punishing others, for little or no reason. However, this is only scratching the surface, and to put it down so matter-of-factly doesn't do justice to the suffering that evil can cause. This is particularly true of Gertrude Baniszewski; her evil went far beyond the constricts of murder.

It all began when a circus couple employed her to look after their two teenage daughters while they were travelling. 'Care' is just about the only thing she didn't do for them. When payment was late, she beat Sylvia and Jenny Likens, locked them in the basement and forced them to attack each other. The girls were scalded, burned, humiliated, and starved. On one occasion Sylvia was forced to rape herself using a coke bottle; on another, she had the words 'I am a prostitute and proud of it' tattooed on her tummy. She had the most hideous injuries, eventually dying of swelling of the brain, haemorrhaging, and shock caused by all the damage to her skin.

The treatment of the girls is appalling enough, but what makes Gertrude Baniszewski even more of a foul human being - if she is even deserving of that title - is that she enlisted the help of her own children and their friends. Baniszewski had seven children, three of whom were also arrested for murder, along with two other neighbourhood children. A number of other kids had also been coerced into being involvement, and were subsequently arrested for 'injury to a person'. That one woman could inflict so much suffering on a single person is disgusting, but the fact that she brainwashed and forced innocent children into doing the same thing is truly the stuff of nightmares. This woman was evil personified; even Hollywood couldn't write a story like this.

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