I decided to include this section on my website because I’m interested in true crime, particularly old cases, and it gave me a good excuse to do some research. I used to teach Criminology and it was always the murderers that most fascinated my students.

While undertaking the research I started to think about what it is about crime, particularly murder, that so fascinates us. Perhaps it is because it is the most extreme of actions, the one with the most far-reaching consequences – not only for the defendant and victim but also for their families and loved ones. What is it that would prompt somebody to take another’s life? Money? Jealousy? Revenge? 

I’ve picked out some of the cases that particularly interest me and that also have some legal or developmental point of interest. For example, the case of the Stratton brothers was the first case that used fingerprint evidence in a murder trial, while Bywaters and Thompson is interesting in how much it tells us of of society’s view of women at the time.

The notes are only intended as thumb nail sketches, to give a flavour of the cases. There’s plenty of material available on the internet if you want to do your own research

April 24, 2019

The Stratton Brothers

Thomas and Ann Farrow were shopkeepers in south London who lived above the shop. On the 27th March 1905 Thomas was found downstairs bludgeoned to death. Upstairs, Ann had also been bludgeoned but was still alive although unconscious. She died four days later.

July 26, 2019

Bywaters & Thompson

In the summer of 1921 Edith Thompson, a married woman, began an affair with Fredrick Bywaters a man eight years her junior. Then in late 1922 Edith's husband was attacked and killed bringing the affair to the attention of the police.

October 4, 2019

Dr William Palmer

William Palmer was a qualified doctor at St Bartholomew's Hospital. He was also a man with a gambling addiction.

As his debts continued to mount an increasing number of people close to him began to die in mysterious circumstances.