Little is known about John Allison. He was born c. 1836, and in 1888 he resided in London, and his occupation was given as "general dealer". His wife, Miriam Allison, to whom he had been married for around 19 years, left him some time in late August because of his drinking habits and abusiveness. On September 6th, 1888 he attacked his estranged wife with a hatchet on Ranelagh Road, Pimlico at the factory where she worked. His wife sustained serious wounds to her head, face and hands, and several other lacerations and bruises. Many of the blows were struck with the blunt side of the hatchet. He was stopped from wounding her further by the intervention of bystanders, and the hatchet broke. He claimed to be drunk at the time of the attack and to remember little of the events. On October 30th, 1888 he was indicted on charges of maliciously wounding with intent to murder, and sentenced to five years of penal servitude. His case was largely overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding the Jack the Ripper murders, which had been taking place at the time of his attack.