Crime Novel Becomes Reality for GW English Professor

GW Professorial Lecturer in English Matt Fullerty, who is currently teaching ENGL 62 (Comedy) and ENGL 52W (English Literature), recently found himself in the middle of a national news story in the UK.

Last weekend, a human skull was dug up in the garden of broadcaster/naturalist Sir David Attenborough in London. It turns out to be the long-missing head of an 1879 murder victim named Martha Thomas, who was killed by her maid Kate Webster.

In a peculiar twist, Dr. Fullerty has been writing about the murder–in the form of a novel–for the past two years. After the murder, Kate impersonated Martha Thomas around London, wearing her clothes and jewelry, and selling her victim’s belongings. After trying to flee to Ireland, Kate was arrested and put on trial at the Old Bailey, eventually confessing to her priest. She was hanged in Wandsworth Prison by the “royal hangman” William Marwood on 29 July, 1879.

When the story broke on Saturday in England, Matt became the go-to source for the British press. The result was a feature in Tuesday’s Daily Mail about life of the killer (and the man who hanged her).

You can read more about Matt Fullerty’s novel The Murderess and the Hangman here. Matt is currently looking for a publisher for his work, and we hope this strange turn-of-events will help him land a book deal in time for Halloween!

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