Story: Violent crime

Police searching Minnie Dean's garden (2nd of 3)

Police searching Minnie Dean's garden

After Minnie Dean arrived home on 2 May 1895 with only a heavy hatbox and without the child who had earlier been in her care, police searched her garden and discovered the recently buried bodies of two babies and the skeleton of a four-year-old boy. Dean lived at The Larches in Winton with her husband Charles Dean (a failed publican and bankrupt farmer) and their adopted daughter, Margaret Cameron. The large house on the property had burned down soon after the family moved there, and they occupied this two-room cottage where Dean looked after as many as nine young children for payment. Before the bodies were found buried at The Larches in 1895, several other children had already died in Dean's care, and a coroner had told her to provide better living conditions for her charges.

Using this item

Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Lynley Hood, Minnie Dean: her life and crimes. Auckland: Penguin Books, 1994

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How to cite this page:

Greg Newbold, 'Violent crime - Controversial murder trials, 1840–1939', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 11 June 2023)

Story by Greg Newbold, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 18 Mar 2019