|William Henry Bury
Sketch of Bury from
The Dundee Courier
, 12 February 1889. He had dark hair and a beard, was 5 foot 3½ inches (1.61 m) tall, and weighed less than 10 stone (64 kg).
25 May 1859|
||24 April 1889
Death by hanging
||Ellen Elliot (m. 1888; d. 1889)
||Henry and Mary Bury
Murder of Ellen Bury
William Henry Bury (25 May 1859 – 24 April 1889) was suspected of being the notorious
serial killer "
Jack the Ripper". He was
hanged for the murder of his wife Ellen in 1889, and was the
last person executed in
Bury was orphaned at an early age and was educated at a charitable school in the
English Midlands. After a few years in regular employment, he fell into financial difficulty, was dismissed for theft, and became a street peddler. In 1887 he moved to
London, where he married Ellen Elliot, who was probably a prostitute. During their stormy marriage, which lasted just over a year, they faced increasing financial hardship. In January 1889, they moved to Dundee. The following month, Bury
strangled his wife with a rope, stabbed her dead body with a penknife, and hid the corpse in a box in their room. A few days later, he presented himself to the local police and was arrested for her murder. Tried and convicted, he was sentenced to death by hanging. Shortly before his execution, he confessed to the crime. Although Bury's guilt was not in doubt, Dundee had a history of opposition to the death penalty and
The Dundee Courier printed an editorial the day after his execution decrying the "judicial butcheries" of capital punishment.
Bury killed his wife shortly after the height of the London
Whitechapel murders, which were attributed to the unidentified serial killer "Jack the Ripper". Bury's previous abode near
Whitechapel and similarities between the Ripper's crimes and Bury's led the press, as well as executioner
James Berry, to suggest that Bury was the Ripper. Bury protested his innocence in the Ripper crimes, and the police discounted him as a suspect. Later authors have built on the earlier accusations, but the idea that Bury was the Ripper is not widely accepted.