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Background and case
Dick was born in Beamsville, Ontario to Donald and Alexandra MacLean. She was arrested for murder after local children in Hamilton, Ontario found the torso of her missing estranged husband, John Dick. His head and limbs had been sawn from his body and—as later evidence revealed—were disposed of in the furnace of her home at 32 Carrick Avenue.
She was defended in her first murder trial in 1946 by J.J. Sullivan, convicted and sentenced to hang. Lawyer J.J. Robinette, however, appealed her case and won an eventual acquittal. In the meantime, however, a partly mummified body of a male infant was found in her attic, encased in cement in an old suitcase. The infant was identified as her son Peter David White. She was tried again for murder in 1947 and sentenced to life in prison, but was paroled in 1958 after serving eleven years in Kingston's Prison for Women, with a new identity and job and disappeared from public view.
In the media and popular culture
A well known school yard song, (with a double entendre) at the time of the murders went as follows:
- You cut off his legs...
- You cut off his arms...
- You cut off his head...
- How could you Mrs Dick?
- How could you Mrs Dick?
In 2001 Canadian author Brian Vallée authored The Torso Murder: The Untold Story of Evelyn Dick a book focusing on Dick's murder trial and subsequent disappearance. A 2002 television film, Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story, suggests Dick protected her parents, who were also viable suspects in the murder of her baby and husband, and that she was sexually abused by her father and exploited by both parents (especially by her mother) to provide them a higher standing and income. The movie was originally scheduled to be aired on September 11, 2001, but was delayed until March 18, 2002 due to the terrorist attacks on the original air date. The case was also the subject of the 2005 film noir musical, Black Widow.
- "The Hamilton Memory Project;" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator- Souvenir Edition page MP38. June 10, 2006.
- Alex Chapple (Director), Dennis Foon, Marjorie Freeman Campbell (book) (2002). Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story (Film). Canada: Shaftesbury Films Inc.
- Campbell, Marjorie Freeman. Bloody Matrimony: Evelyn Dick and the Torso Murder Case. Toronto, Ont.: Penguin Books Canada, 1992, cop. 1974. N.B.: On verso of t.p.: "First published 1974 by Macmillan of Canada in a hardcover edition, entitled Torso: the Evelyn Dick Case." ISBN 0-14-017187-8 pbk.
- Evelyn Dick - The 'Torso' Murder
- Torso Murder (Evelyn Dick) series in the Brian Vallée archival fonds
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