The love triangle that became a circle - of rope!
Edith Thompson was a quite attractive 29 year old english manageress who was married to a 32
year old shipping clerk Percy Thompson. He was often abroad and since june 1921 Edith was
having an affair with 20 year old Frederic (Freddy) Bywaters who was a ship's steward.
This mÃ©nage Ã trois went on until Freddy killed Percy on october 4, 1922. Edith was accused
of being the master mind behind the killing, and because of her adultery she was considered
immoral - the Victorian spirit was still quite vivant in the British minds of the early 1920's.
The judge in his summing up described Edith's letters to Freddy as "full of the outpourings of a
silly but at the same time a wicked affection". The summing up was hostile to Edith, the judge
making much of the adultery. He was obviously judging from his very Victorian moral principles.
Edith was sentenced to be hanged by her neck until death. This sentence was carried out on the
January 9, 1923.
A Historical Hanging
When the executioner John Ellis observed her the night before the execution she was near
collapse. Ellis had ordered a longer than normal ancle strap. Skirts had become shorter - the usual
ancle strap would no longer hold the skirt - and to prevent it from lifting as she dropped it was to
be tied with an extra strap just above her knees. The next morning when Ellis entered her cell to
pinion her arms she lay in a heap on the floor and cried and moaned. The guards tried to calm her
by speaking softly to her, and lifted her up so Ellis could pinion her. Then she fainted completely,
and the guards had to carry her to the execution chamber.
She could not stand on her own on the trap and the guards supported her. She was hanged while
When they stripped her they noticed that her panties were covered with blood. The blood came
from her vagina. Her uterus was inverted due to the drop.
Edith's twat changed the history of hanging - all female executees in Britain had to wear canvas
pants to their hangings.
|Edith in prison - waiting to swing!
|Lodger, wife and husband: Freddy and Edith were both hanged after the murder of Percy (right)