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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
23rd May 1951 Peter Ustinov's Love of Four Colonels, premieres in London
23rd May 1933 Born today: Joan Henrietta Collins, London, actress (Alexis-Dynasty, Bitch)
23rd May 1890 Born today: Herbert Marshall, London, actor (Murder, Razor's Edge, Little Foxes)
23rd May 1701 William Kidd, Scottish pirate, hanged at London's Execution Dock.
The Percy Thompson murder
This was the scene of one of the most infamous London murders.
Location: Belgrave Road, Ilford, London
Description: It was here that the scene of the crime took place as Edith and Percy walked home in the early hours of 4th October 1922, while they were on their way home to Kensington Gardens. Edith's lover Frederick Bywaters stepped out of the shadows and stabbed Percy Thompson to death.
The case was highly criticised but the subsequent trial and conviction of Frederick Bywaters and Edith Thompson for the murder of Percy, Edith's husband made Ilford famous. Both hanged, Frederick for murder and Edith for adultery.
In December 1922, the lovers were tried at the Old Bailey in a blaze of publicity. People queued all night for a seat in court to see the beautiful murderess and her young lover. Newspapers portrayed Edith as a wicked adulteress who would stop at nothing - not even murder. When her passionate love-letters to Frederick were read out in court, the press denounced her as 'the Madame Bovary of North-East London' and 'the Messalina of Ilford'.