- "I should thank you, Miss Frye. I feared death at the Ripper's hands far more than at yours."
- ―Owers during her final moments, 1888.[src]
As Lady O, she headed several brothels in London, using the prostitutes in her employ to entrap clients by learning their secrets and taking compromising photographs. Publicly, however, Owers presented herself as an altruistic noblewoman that sought to save 'fallen women'.
Born in the East End of London, Mary Williams grew up poor and illiterate, though her street smarts compensated for what she lacked in formal education. To make ends meet, she ran a fried fish and potatoes stall in the slums of Clement St. Danes, supplementing her income as a dealer in second-hand clothing.
However, Williams quickly found prostitution to be a more profitable alternative. Having reportedly been married twice, she eventually moved in with Thomas Owers, a rich and well-connected solicitor, and took on the name Olwyn Owers. She subsequently became known to the public as a philantropist that endeavored to save the prostitutes of Whitechapel and give them a decent life.
In truth, Owers was taking over brothels and running them herself, using sensitive information procured by the women in her employ to blackmail powerful clients. The Owers Manor became a regular host to scandalous parties for members of "The Cannibal Club", an elite men's club associated with London's Anthropological Society, and others.
Lieutenant of Jack the Ripper
- "Smile and be polite, or I'll tell the Ripper where you sleep, my beauties."
- ―Owers threatening her girls, 1888.[src]
Owers at some point became affiliated with Jack the Ripper, using her network of prostitutes to keep him apprised of developments within the city. In early November of 1888, she gave a speech during a public gathering at the Kenway Mansion, thanking those that had contributed to her efforts in saving the local prostitutes. As the audience applauded, Owers spotted the Assassin Evie Frye amongst the crowd and hurriedly departed in a carriage.
While her men used Nellie, one of the women in her employ, as a distraction for Evie, Owers retreated to the manor. After ordering her butler to alert the guards, she began destroying the incriminating documents in her chambers, but was interrupted in this endeavor by her husband Thomas, who claimed to have "a most delicious surprise" for her.
Owers chastised him for disturbing her, at which point Evie, who had used Thomas to reach Owers' chambers, sprang forward and stabbed Owers in the abdomen with her Hidden Blade. In her final moments, she revealed that Jack the Ripper would soon go after Arthur Weaversbrook, a British newspaper proprietor.
- Olwyn means "white footprint" from Welsh ol "footprint, track" and gwen "white, fair, blessed".