Author(s): Brian Williams
The extraordinary Martha Needle was not only the most treacherous poisoner inAustralian history she clearly stands out as one of the nation's worst murderessesof all time. And from an international perspective, she still ranks among the world'smost prolific female killers.In her day, Martha was as big as Ned Kelly and she even shared the samepugnacious lawyer. Throughout late 1894, her epic tale kept the Australiancommunity transfixed and was dramatically reported around the globe as 'the storyof the century'. Even in more modern times, the story of Martha Needle continuesto be widely chronicled as one of the most mind boggling poisoning cases in theannals of crime and she remains a polarising figure in Australian history.Luridly dubbed the 'Black Widow' by the world's press, this manipulating youngwoman deviously used arsenic to exterminate all those around her who stood in the way of her personalambitions which ultimately even included her own children.