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Uxoricide (from Latin uxor meaning "wife") is murder of one's wife. It can refer to the act itself or the man who carries it out.

Known or suspected uxoricides

File:Matthias Brinsden stabbing his wife.JPG

18th century illustration of Matthias Brinsden murdering his wife.

  • Cambyses II of Persia married two of his sisters and installed the younger as queen consort of Egypt. During his insanity, he murdered her for weeping for their brother Smerdis, whom Cambyses had murdered.
  • Ptolemy XI of Egypt had his wife and stepmother, Berenice III, murdered nineteen days after their wedding in 80 BC. Afterwards, Ptolemy was lynched by the citizens of Alexandria, with whom Berenice was very popular.
  • Herod the Great had his second wife, Mariamne I strangled for suspected adultery, though she was innocent of the charges. According to Josephus, regret over this act almost caused Herod to go insane.
  • Roman Emperor Tiberius probably had his second wife, Julia, starved to death in 14 AD, while she was in exile on Pandataria. Their marriage was unhappy, and he had been publicly embarrassed by her adultery years earlier. Her alleged paramour, Sempronius Gracchus, was executed around the same time on Tiberius’s orders.
  • Roman Emperor Nero ordered the death of his first wife, Octavia, soon after divorcing her in 62 AD. He also reportedly kicked his second wife, Poppaea Sabina, to death in 65 AD after an argument.
  • King Henry VIII of England had two of his six wives executed: Anne Boleyn on probably false charges of adultery, treason and incest, and Catherine Howard on the probably true charge of adultery.
  • George Forster murdered his wife and child by drowning them in Paddington Canal, London: he was hanged at Newgate on 18 January 1803.
  • Edward William Pritchard (1825-1865) was an English doctor who was convicted of murdering his wife and mother-in-law by poisoning. He was the last person to be publicly executed in Glasgow.
  • The Reverend John Selby Watson (1804-1884) was sentenced to death in 1872 for killing his wife, but a public outcry led to his sentence being reduced to life imprisonment. The case is notable for Watson's use of a plea of insanity as his defence.
  • William Henry Bury (1859-1889) was executed in Dundee, Scotland, for the murder of his wife Ellen in 1889. He was suspected by some of being Jack the Ripper.
  • Dr Crippen (1862-1910) was an American homeopathic physician hanged in Pentonville Prison, London, England, on 23 November 1910, for the murder of his wife, Cora Henrietta Crippen.
  • George Joseph Smith (1872-1915), the "Brides in the Bath Murderer", was convicted and subsequently hanged for drowning three women, all of whom he had bigamously married, between 1908 and 1914.
  • Herbert Rowse Armstrong (1869-1922), a solicitor in Hay-on-Wye, was hanged for the murder of his wife by arsenic poisoning.
  • Dr Buck Ruxton (1899-1936) murdered and dismembered his wife in Lancaster, England in 1935.
  • John Reginald Halliday Christie (1899-1953), an English serial killer active in the 1940s and 1950s murdered at least seven women including his wife Ethel in his flat at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London.
  • John Emil List murdered his three children, mother and his wife on 9 November, 1971. He was a fugitive for 18 years. He was apprehended on 1 June, 1989 after an episode of "America's Most Wanted" was broadcast. On 1 May, 1990 he was sentenced to 5 life terms in prison.
  • Bradford Bishop murdered his three children, mother, and his wife in 1976. He was tried for homicide and sentenced in absentia, and has been the subject of TV shows such as America's Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries. Bishop remains an international fugitive.
  • Philosopher Louis Althusser strangled his wife to death on 16 November 1980. He was not tried, on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and was instead committed to a psychiatric hospital. He was discharged in 1983.
  • Actor Robert Blake was found not guilty of the 2001 murder of his wife Bonnie Lee Bakley, but was found liable for her wrongful death in a 2005 civil suit filed by her children from previous marriages.
  • Scott Peterson murdered his pregnant wife Laci Peterson in 2002. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2005.
  • Mark Hacking murdered his pregnant wife Lori Hacking in 2004. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2005.
  • Joe O'Reilly was convicted in 2007 of the murder of his wife Rachel at their home in Co. Dublin, Ireland, in October 2004. With the crime (Rachel O'Reilly had been bludgeoned to death with an exercise barbell) having been the focus of considerable national attention, an ostensibly grieving O'Reilly appeared (along with his mother-in-law) on an episode of the Late Late Show during the weeks that followed. It was not until some months later that police attention gradually began to focus on O'Reilly, with mobile phone records (he had claimed to have been at work, 30 miles away, at the time of his wife's death) eventually being used to secure his conviction. Not to be confused with Senator Joe O'Reilly, an Irish Fine Gael politician.
  • On 10 October, 2006, Hans Reiser was arrested and subsequently convicted of the murder of his wife, Nina Reiser.
  • Neil Entwistle
  • Charles Stuart

Uxoricide in fiction

See also


es:Uxoricidio it:Uxoricidio

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