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William Burrett

Kill Total: 1 Kill place: London
Kill date:  25th August 1900 Victim(s): Ada Burrett
Date of Birth: unknown Marital Status: Married






William Burrett married Ada in July 1900, and thereafter lived off her earnings as a prostitute.

It was not a state of affairs that Ada relished and she repeatedly begged her husband to find work so that she could give up the profession she had been forced to follow. The pleas fell on deaf ears, even though she threatened to leave William, if he did not get a job.

In mid July, the Burrett's took a room in Alexander Street, Plaistow, but the arguments over his reluctance to find work continued.

On the morning of Saturday 25th August, Mrs Fitzpatrick, the landlady of the house, heard the front door slam. At about the same time, a young boy selling newspapers in the street, looked in at the open door of the same house and saw what he took to be a bundle of rags at the foot of a flight of stairs.

The bundle turned out to be the body of Ada Burrett. She had been stabbed a number of times. The same boy reported that he had then seen a man leave the house and that he had a large knife sticking out of one of his pockets.

Ada though was not dead. She was taken to hospital where she made a statement outlining the attack her husband had made upon her. She had been stabbed nine times in all, the fatal wound being one in her abdomen. She died in the hospital at eight thirty that same evening.

At the subsequent inquest, the doctor who had been called to the scene of the crime, Doctor James Parker, confessed that he had not attended to the unfortunate woman until the police had arrived as he wanted them to see exactly what state she was in! Once the police had arrived this so-called medical man did dress some of Ada's wounds and then had her taken to hospital. He had not believed her wounds to be all that serious and had believed she would recover. Had this doctor shown a more caring attitude, it is perhaps possible that William Burrett might well have eventually faced a much lesser charge.

Burrett was tried at the Old Bailey, where the dying deposition of his wife was read out. She stated; "I was quarrelling with my husband; I told him he would have to go to work. He has not done any work since I was married. He took a big knife and stabbed me all over.....He then ran away. It was about twenty past seven in the morning."

Other witnesses were called who testified that they had heard William make repeated threats to his wife. For his part, William's defence was that as he had killed his wife in the heat of an argument, he was guilty only of manslaughter.

The jury did not agree and found William guilty of murder.

He was hanged at Chelmsford, 8th October 1900.

At his execution, the Times recorded that Burrett had been given a drop of over nine feet.