Eliza Fenning was a domestic servant who was the most famous wronged woman in England in 1815. She was executed for the attempted murder of her employer and his family on flimsy evidence and many believed she was innocent, especially after her declaration on the scaffold:
‘Before the just and almighty God, and by the faith of the holy sacrament I have taken, I am innocent of the offence with which I am charged.’
Her case became instrumental in the fight for doctors to be better trained in the newly developing science of forensics and also led to the launch of experiments on yeast and arsenic that continue to this day.
Ms Fenning left another legacy behind: when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein she based the character of the wrongly accused Justine on Eliza.