W.T. Stead and the Eliza Armstrong Case

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W.T. Stead & the Eliza Armstrong Case

William Thomas Stead..You have been found guilty under two indictments—the one charging you with the abduction of Eliza Armstrong, the other charging you with indecent assault. Now I am prepared to give you credit for good motives from your point of view, but.. I cannot pass anything but a substantial sentence, and that is that you be imprisoned without hard labour for three calendar months.. Mr. Justice Lopes’ Sentence

The Eliza Armstrong Case was the criminal prosecution of W.T Stead and his accomplices for the abduction and indecent assault of thirteen-year-old Eliza Armstrong. A chimney sweep’s daughter from the impoverished Marylebone area of London, Eliza was the real face behind the semi-fictional  character of Lily, whose heart-rending story, “A Child of Thirteen Bought for £5” concluded the first installment of The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon.

Having been informed, during his investigations, that some unscrupulous parents were willing to sell their own children into prostitution, Stead sent his agent, reformed prostitute Rebecca Jarrett into Marylebone to purchase a child  to show to how easily young girls could be procured. The child eventually procured was Eliza Armstrong, allegedly sold by her own mother for just £5.

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The Press on the Armstrong Case