Branch, Elizabeth (1673–1740)

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Branch, Elizabeth (1673–1740)

English murderer. Born in Philips-Norton, Somersetshire, England, 1673; hanged, May 3, 1740, in Ovelchester, England; m. a farmer named Branch; children: Mary Branch (1716–1740).

Showed cruelty throughout life, particularly to servants whom she physically abused and denied basic necessities; following husband's death, with help of daughter Mary, attacked young servant Jane Buttersworth and killed her; arrested with Mary, was brought to Taunton for trial (Mar 1740); found guilty, was hanged with daughter in the middle of the night with no crowd present, for fear that the two would otherwise be torn apart by public (May 3, 1740).