He came from a Roman Catholic middle-class family. During his law studies at the University of Utrecht , he was called up for military service in 1914 (related to the first world war). Despite this, he finished his studies and a Ph.d. in 1921 (cum laude) on the dissertation: security measures in addition to penalties, then very topical because of the imminent "Psychopathenwetgeving" (1925-1928). This was followed by two years tolegal profession to Amsterdam and Deventer, where he became involved with the Catholic workers movement. In 1923 , he was invited for the professorship in criminal law and procedure, starting from 1926 fulltime, to the new Catholic University of Nijmegen. Because of the construction of these were his scientific contributions still modest.
In 1928 he was appointed as a successor to d. Simons of Utrecht, and he only really came to scientific development, especially in the ambience of the 1934 founded by himself in Criminological Institute.
After the Second World War he was a member of the special Council of Cassation and he remained Professor of Utrecht. The multidisciplinary criminal justice practice initiated by him got the name Utrecht School. In1963 took Pompe farewell to the Utrecht University. He died in 1968. Having regard to its prominent leadership was to the Criminological Institute in 1974 to baptize to Willem Pompe Institute for criminal law and Criminology.