Greater London Murders 5


There are some crimes that are horrifying.

For example the case of Kate Webster, who killed Julia Thomas, her employer. Thomas, a widow in her 50s who lived in Richmond, was murdered on 2 March 1879 by her maid, Kate Webster, a 30-year-old Irishwoman with a history of theft. Webster disposed of the body by dismembering it, boiling the flesh off the bones, and throwing most of the remains into the River Thames. It was alleged, although never proven, that she had offered the fat to neighbours and street children as dripping and lard. Part of Thomas’ remains were subsequently recovered from the river. Her severed head remained missing until October 2010, when the skull was found during building works being carried out for Sir David Attenborough. After the murder, Webster posed as Thomas for two weeks, but was exposed and fled back to Ireland and her uncle’s home . She was arrested there on 29 March and was returned to London, where she stood trial at the Old Bailey in July 1879. At the end of a six-day trial she was convicted and sentenced to death.

Another serial killer was Severin Klosowski. George Chapman (14 December 1865 – 7 April 1903) was a Polish serial killer known as the Borough Poisoner. Born Seweryn Antonowicz Kłosowski in Congress Poland, he moved as an adult to England, where he committed his crimes. He was convicted and executed after poisoning three women, but is remembered today mostly because some authorities suspected him of being the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper. Chapman took at least four mistresses, who posed as his wife. Three were poisoned to death by him. They were Mary Isabella Spink (1858 – 25 December 1897), Bessie Taylor (died 14 February 1901) and Maud Marsh (died 22 October 1902).


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