On January 9, 1923, Edith Thompson and her lover, Frederick Bywaterswere executed in London (United Kingdom) for the murder of Percy Thompson, the woman’s husband. Although she was sentenced, no evidence linked her to the crime. A hundred years after her hanging, the condemned woman is close to receiving a pardon because his case was referred to the Criminal Case Review Commission.
Edith’s case has been described as one of the worst judicial errors in British history because it is considered very “dubious”. The young woman, who was 29 years old at the time of her death, was one of 18 women hanged in Britain throughout the 20th century.
Iran hanged a young national karate champion: the lawyer was not even allowed to see the file
In this sense, in July 2022 the Ministry of Justice rejected a request for posthumous pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy conducted by a city law firm on behalf of Professor René Weis. Before the request, Weis, who has led a campaign for justice for women since the 1980s, was named Edith’s heir and executor by her family.
However, the process was renewed after errors were pointed out in the ruling and that the lawyers showed their discontent with the resolution. “The original verdict was, to say the least, very dubious, and the case we presented was very rational and reasonable,” Weis explained.
In this regard, on March 7, a spokesman for the British Justice portfolio revived the hope of the woman’s descendants by announcing that “any possible judicial error” will be investigated. The Commission is expected to take several months before concluding whether the case should be referred for appeal.
“After careful consideration, the Deputy Prime Minister has referred this case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for investigate any possible judicial error to give closure to the family of Edith Thompson“said the spokesman.
In a letter addressed to the university professor, the Ministry of Justice detailed that “a full investigation of his request would be carried out.” In dialogue with the BBCWeis said he was “pleased that our case for the innocence of Edith Thompson is finally being taken seriously, even if the wrong done to him can never be righted“.
And I add: “Edith Thompson was tried and found guilty for being a brilliant young woman of modest origin that had dared to trespass, trespass cheating on her husband”.
The murder of Percy Thompson and the letters that condemned Edith
Three months before his fatal outcome, the October 3, 1923, Edith had gone to the theater with her husband, Percy. However, the outing had a tragic end when Bywaters, the 20-year-old lover of the young woman, appeared and repeatedly stabbed the man. Within seconds, the victim lost his life.
Upon investigation, the deceased’s brother named Bywaters as a suspect. Searching his room at his mother’s house, they found love letters that he exchanged with Edithfor which she was also considered a suspect.
Upon checking the man’s cabin on his ship, they discovered more missives kept in a box, which incriminated Edith because she she had written about the illusion of getting rid of her husband, who was abusive towards her. In that sense, she fantasized about giving him poisoned food or crushing glass to make mashed potatoes. She had also detailed how she had carried out her own abortion.
In another letter he wrote: “Yesterday I met a woman who had lost three husbands and not because of the war, two drowned and one committed suicide, and some people I know are not capable of losing one. How unfair it all is. Bess and Reg are coming over for Sunday dinner.”
The letters were the only “evidence” that justice had against the woman. Although they did not demonstrate a plan or plot to assassinate Percy, they did reveal her affair with Bywaters, which went against the social norms of the time and led to her being pre-judged by juries.
As they were taken to the police station in Ilford, the woman asked: “Why did you do it? I didn’t want him to. God, God, what can I do? I must tell the truth.” For his part, the man did not deny having stabbed husband, but said that Percy attacked him first and that he acted in self-defense. Upon learning that the woman would be accused of murder, he protested: “Why her? Mrs. Thompson wasn’t aware of my movements”.
The trial against the lovers for the murder of Percy Thompson began on December 6, 1922. Five days later, on December 11, the jury reached a verdict in just two hours of deliberations: both were found guilty and sentenced to death. . “The jury is wrong. That woman is not guilty”yelled Bywaters amid the commotion the ruling had caused.
Despite being sentenced the evidence against Edith was not strong. For example, the victim’s body did not show traces of poison, glass or any incriminating evidence. In addition, the witnesses agreed with the woman’s version that she was surprised the night her husband was stabbed.
The judge in the case, Shearman, was strongly criticized later by legal professionals because he showed bias in favor of the prosecutionin addition to having openly challenged the honesty of a witness of the defense
MB / ED
You may also like