The Norfolk tragedy: giving a full account of a horrid barbarous and bloody murder committed by Sarah Hazel on the body of Mary Hazel her daughter-in-law … a child only ten years of age …

[Norwich?: 1784]

Sarah Hazel was tried at Norfolk Assizes but the jury was unable to decide whether she was guilty of murder or manslaughter. The case was referred to the Court of King’s Bench, where her defence claimed firstly that the girl (her step-daughter) was not her own daughter, merely employed to do housework in her father’s home. Secondly, she was correcting the girl for poor work and it was the right of a mistress to correct servants by reasonable means. Similar cases cited in support of this argument include incidents of employers beating workers with shoes, whips and wooden stakes, all considered proper weapons. Sarah Hazel had been imprisoned for 12 months by the time a decision was made to pardon and discharge her.


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