De Melker (née Hancorn-Smith; 1 June 1886 – 30 December 1932) simply known as Daisy de Melker, was a trained nurse who poisoned two husbands with strychnine for their life insurance while living in Turffontein, Johannesburg, and then poisoned her only son with arsenic for reasons which are still unclear.
She is the second woman to have been hanged in South Africa.Daisy de Melker was accused of three murders but was only convicted of one, that of killing her son.
The charges of poisoning her husbands were never proved in a court of law.
It was William Sproat, the younger brother of her second husband, who accused her because he wanted Robert Sproat's will in favour of Daisy declared invalid.
Daisy refused to refund an alleged loan from Mrs Jane Sproat, Robert's mother, to Robert; she regarded it as a gift and argued that it was not stipulated in the will as a loan.
William Sproat won the civil case regarding the will, which ran concurrently with the murder trial, and was awarded costs.
Daisy withdrew on the date Justice Greenberg sentenced her for murder.
William's was a Pyrrhic victory however.
To pay her exorbitant legal costs Daisy had to hock all her assets.
She was declared insolvent and was eventually buried in a prison pauper's grave.