The Thompson and Bywaters Case
BEFORE THE ARMISTICE, Scotland Yard was expecting a great wave of postwar crime. Certainly there was a rise in sensational crime, and this is not to be wondered at when we remember that a large number of criminals who had been absorbed by the army were relegated again to civil life without much prospect of finding jobs; that a consider. able number of demobilized men were suffering from shell shock, and that the war which we were told was fought to make the world safe for democracy had not made it safe for men who were looking forward to a life of ease and comparative affluence. The savage slaughter of the Great War had affected even the civilian population in the low value it placed on human life, even among those who had taken no part in it. The crime that has now to be described is a case in point.
Among the sensational crimes of the postwar period which were solved by the C.I.D. of Scotland Yard was the case of Bywaters and Mrs. Thompson. On Wednesday, October 4, 1922, the divisional detective-inspector of K Division rang up Scotland Yard to report that he had what looked like "a nasty case of murder." A young married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, had been returning from a theatre a little after midnight when, while they were passing through an ill-lighted side street, the husband had staggered, callapsed, and died. The wife, who was sobbing