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Bayeux, Osbert de (fl. 1120–1184), ecclesiastic and suspected murderer, was a nephew of Archbishop Thurstan of York (d. 1140). An archdeacon named Osbert occurs in the 1120s; if this was Osbert de Bayeux then he must have been promoted as archdeacon, presumably by his uncle, at an early age. As ...

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See Königsmark [Coningsmark], Karl Johann, Count Königsmark in the Swedish nobility

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William Burke (1792–1829) by Benjamin William Crombie, pubd 1829 [on the day before his execution] Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Burke, William (1792–1829), murderer, and his accomplice, William Hare [see below], were Irish immigrants whose activities in Edinburgh made theirs perhaps the best-known pair of names in Scottish history. William Burke was probably born in the parish of Urney, near Strabane, co. Tyrone...

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Crichton, Robert, eighth Lord Crichton of Sanquhar (c. 1568–1612), nobleman and murderer, was the son of Edward Crichton, seventh Lord Crichton of Sanquhar (c.1542–1569), and Margaret Douglas (c.1545–c.1605), of Drumlanrig. On 10 April 1608 he married Anne (...

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Hawley Harvey Crippen (1862–1910) by unknown photographer, c. 1890 Getty Images

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Crippen, Hawley Harvey (1862–1910), murderer, was born in Coldwater, Michigan, the only child of storekeeper Myron Augustus Crippen (1827–1910) and his wife, Andresse Skinner (d. 1909). After studying in Michigan, London, and the Homoeopathic Hospital College, Cleveland, Ohio, he qualified as a homoeopathic doctor in 1884. In 1887 he married a nurse, ...

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Ruth Ellis (1926–1955) by unknown photographer, 1955 Getty Images

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Ellis [née Neilson], Ruth (1926–1955), nightclub hostess and convicted murderer, was born on 9 October 1926 at 74 West Parade, Rhyl, north Wales, the fourth of six children of Arthur Neilson (formerly Hornby), musician, and his wife, Elisaberta Goodall, a seamstress.

Born into poverty, ...

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Fitzurse, Reginald (d. 1173x5), one of the murderers of Thomas Becket, was the son of Richard fitz Urse and his wife, Maud, the daughter of Baldwin de Boullers, lord of Montgomery. Although not of the standing of his fellow murderers Hugh de Morville (d. 1173/4)...

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Hanratty, James Francis (1936–1962), petty criminal and convicted murderer, was born on 4 October 1936 in the County Hospital, Farnborough, near Orpington, Kent, the eldest of four sons of James Hanratty (1907–1978), labourer and dustman, and his wife, Mary Wilson.

He attended St James's Roman Catholic school...

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See Burke, William

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revised by Richard Davenport-Hines

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Hindley, Myra (1942–2002), murderer, was born on 23 July 1942 at 123 Crescent Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, the elder daughter of Robert Hindley, an army paratrooper and building labourer, and his wife, Nellie, née Maybury, a machinist. After the birth of her sister, Maureen...

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Hobry [Aubry; other married name Defermeau], Mary (d. 1688), murderer, was a French Catholic midwife of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields who emerged into prominence in late January 1688 when the head, torso, and limbs of her husband, Denis Hobry, were discovered one by one around ...

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Sarah Malcolm (c. 1710–1733) by William Hogarth, 1733 National Gallery of Scotland

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Malcolm, Sarah (c. 1710–1733), murderer, was born in Durham but the family moved to Dublin. On the death of her mother, Malcolm migrated to London, becoming a domestic servant at the Temple. One of her employers was an elderly widow, Lydia Duncomb, who lived with another old woman and their maid. On 5 February 1733 the papers reported a grisly murder of the three women, found in their beds with their throats cut from ear to ear. Four servants were arrested and ...

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Morville, Hugh de (d. 1173/4), one of the murderers of Thomas Becket, was the son of an elder Hugh de Morville (d. 1162) and Beatrice de Beauchamp. He was a member of a notable Anglo-Scottish baronial family, and, according to Benedict of Peterborough...

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See Königsmark [Coningsmark], Karl Johann, Count Königsmark in the Swedish nobility

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Stewart, Allan [known as Allan Breck Stewart] (fl. 1745–1752), Jacobite sympathizer and accused murderer, was the son of Donald Stewart, also known as Vic Ian Vic Allister, sometime of Inverchomrie in Rannoch. He was probably born in Rannoch but was brought up not by his father but at ...

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Stewart, James, of the Glen [Seumas a'Ghlinne] (b. before 1700, d. 1752), convicted accessory to murder, born James Stewart (the son of John Stewart of Ardshiel, a merchant), was the illegitimate elder brother of Charles Stewart (d. 1757), fifth of Ardshiel, who led out the ...