Annette Myers (c. 1819-1879)
Born in Paris and raised in Brussels, 26-year-old Annette Myers, servant to the Curtis family of Hyde Park Gardens, was tried at the Old Bailey for the ‘wilful murder’ of Henry Ducker.
Her love letters were read to the court, and as the indignities of her life were aired, she came to be seen as Henry’s victim. He was a cad. He’d used and abused her. There was even talk of venereal disease. By contrast, she was ‘of irreproachable character, very superior to the station which she occupied in life’.
An editorial in The Times called for the commutation of her sentence, and a public meeting was called in her name to campaign against capital punishment. It worked. After two years in Tothill Fields Prison, Annette Myers sailed to Van Diemen’s Land on the Emma Eugenia. She arrived in 1851.