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the knife used in the Bonnington murder | by Archives New Zealand
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the knife used in the Bonnington murder

Fanny Bonnington stood in the dock of the Blenheim Supreme Court on 21 October 1884 charged with the murder of her baby daughter.


Fanny was a 16-year-old domestic servant to Blenheim brewer and scion of the community Henry Dodson. Returning from a business trip to Wellington, Dodson found a trail of blood to the outdoor toilet. It was soon discovered that Fanny had dropped the body of her new born female child into it and covered her with soil. Knife wounds were found on the body and Fanny was duly charged with murder. She was found not guilty on grounds of insanity and served several months in the Wellington Asylum before Dodson arranged to collect her and return her to her family in the Wairau Valley.


Shown here is the knife which Fanny used to stab her baby. In highly unusual circumstances the knife has been retained as part of her criminal trial file


ABYB 23218/4 26


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Taken on August 6, 2020