Thompson, Edith

BORN 25 Dec 1893, London: 97 Norfolk Road, Dalston - DIED 9 Jan 1923, London: Holloway Prison, Islington
BIRTH NAME Thompson, Edith Jessie
CAUSE OF DEATH executed by hanging
GRAVE LOCATION Brookwood, Surrey: Brookwood Cemetery (plot 117 (cenotaph))

Edith Thompson started working as a bookkeeper and was promoted severtal times until she travelledregularly to Paris for the company as the chief buyer. She married Percy Thompson in 1916 and lived with him in Ilford, Essex. In 1920 they met Freddy Bywaters and Edith started an affair with him.

A quarrel followed. From 1921 to 1922 Bywaters was at sea. On October 3, 1922 Percy was stabbed to death on the street. Edith was present and told the policy Freddy was the killer. After the police found her love letters to Freddy she was arrested as well.

They were both charged with murder and although Bywaters stated that she was innocent she was convicted as well and both were executed. There was a public outcry after Edith's execution and it seemd that the jury was misled by the way the evidence had been presented. It also became known that she had gained weight at the time of her execution although she had hardly eaten anything for weeks. It was inferred that she had probably been pregnant.

She was buried in an unmarked grave at Hollywood Prison. In 1971 the prison was partly rebuilt and together with those of three other women her remains were reburied at Brookwood Cemetery near Woking. It was a nameless grave until a memorial was placed in 1993. In 2018 her remains were transferred to the grave of her parents at the City of London Cemetery.

Her executioner John Ellis committed suicide in 1932 and some people who knew him stated that his memory of her last moments was one of the reasons.


The grave of Edith Thompson at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.
Picture by Androom (25 Jun 2009)


• Clarke, John M., London's Necropolis, A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2004
Wikipedia (EN):

Thon, Sixtus Armin

Published: 28 Nov 2009
Last update: 20 Feb 2022