Two husbands, four trials and one bloody execution: Winner of the 2015 Davitt Award for Best Crime Book (Non-fiction) - the terrible true story of Louisa Collins. In January 1889, Louisa Collins, a 41-year-old mother of ten children, became the first woman hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Both of Louisa's husbands had died suddenly and the Crown, convinced that Louisa poisoned them with arsenic, put her on trial an extraordinary four times in order to get a conviction, to the horror of many in the legal community. Louisa protested her incence until the end. Much of the evidence against Louisa was circumstantial. Some of the most important testimony was given by her only daughter, May, who was just 10-years-old when asked to take the stand. Louisa Collins was hanged at a time when women were in sense equal under the law - except when it came to the gallows. They could t vote or stand for parliament - or sit on juries. Against this background, a small group of women rose up to try to save Louisa's life, arguing that a legal system comprised only of men - male judges, all-male jury, male prosecutor, goverr and Premier - could t with any integrity hang a woman. The tenacity of these women would t save Louisa but it would ultimately carry women from their homes all the way to Parliament House. Caroline Overington is the author of eleven books of fiction and n-fiction, including the top-selling THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY psychological crime vel. She has said: 'My hope is that LAST WOMAN HANGED will be read t only as a true crime story but as a letter of profound thanks to that generation of women who fought so hard for the rights we still enjoy today.' Praise for LAST WOMAN HANGED 'The story she tells ...is a useful challenge to any tendency to simple moral indignation' - Beverley Kingston, Sydney Morning Herald 'This is a fascinating book, a terrific read, and an excellent reminder of who tells the stories, and whose stories are forgotten' - Frances Rand, South Coast Register '...what's ...interesting is Caroline Overington's even-handed appraisal of Collins's alleged crime(s) that led her to become the last woman hanged in New South Wales in 1889' - Launceston Sunday Examiner
Caroline Overington is a bestselling Australian author and an award-winning journalist. She has written eleven books, including the top ten bestseller The One Who Got Away, and Last Woman Hanged, which won the Davitt Award for True Crime Writing in 2015. She has profiled many of the world's most famous women, including Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, and has twice won the Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism. She has also won the Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Journalistic Excellence and the Blake Dawson Prize for Business Literature. Caroline is currently Associate Editor at The Australian and is based in Sydney. You can find her online at www.carolineoverington.com.