Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Manning, Marie

MANNING, MARIE (1821–1849), murderess, whose maiden name was Marie de Roux, was born at Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1821, and entered domestic service in England. At first maid to Lady Palk of Haldon House, Devonshire, she entered the service of Lady Blantyre at Stafford House in 1846, and on 27 May 1847 married, at St. James's Church, Piccadilly, Frederick George Manning, a publican. She had previously made the acquaintance of Patrick O'Connor, a gauger in the London Docks, and this friendship was continued after her marriage. On 9 Aug. 1849 O'Connor dined with the Mannings at their house, 3 Miniver Place, Bermondsey. Husband and wife, according to a preconcerted plan, thereupon murdered their guest and buried his body under the flagstones in the kitchen. On the same day Mrs. Manning visited O'Connor's lodgings, Greenwood Street, Mile End Road, and repeated the visit next day, stealing the dead man's railway scrip and money. The police on 17 Aug. discovered O'Connor's remains, and soon after apprehended his murderers. They were tried at the Old Bailey on 25 and 26 Oct., found guilty, and executed at Horsemonger Lane Gaol on 13 Nov. Mrs. Manning wore a black satin dress on the scaffold, a fact which caused that material to become unpopular for many years. Charles Dickens wrote a letter to the ‘Times’ on the wickedness and levity of the mob during the execution. Mademoiselle Hortense, Lady Dedlock's waiting-woman in ‘Bleak House,’ was suggested to Dickens by Mrs. Manning's career.

[Times, 18 Aug. 1849 et seq., 26, 27, and 29 Oct.; Central Criminal Court, Minutes of Evidence, 1849, xxx. 654–79; Celebrated Crimes and Criminals, 1890, pp. 51–72; Donald Nicoll's Man's Revenge, 1890, pp. 71–83; C. Dickens's The Story of his Life, 1870, p. 214; Huish's Progress of Crime, 1849, with portrait; Trial of G. and M. Manning, 1849, with portraits.]

G. C. B.