When Mrs. Dorothy Oliver, 60, was found shot dead at her Southport home in Lancashire on NOVEMBER 23rd, 1908, suspicion focused on Henry Jackson, 54, a local dealer in jewellery who had known Mrs. Oliver some years earlier.

She had been shot three times at close range, her jewellery was missing, and Jackson became a suspect when he sold some of it. But before the police had enough evidence to charge him, he committed suicide, leaving a note claiming he was innocent.

The investigators had found nothing incriminating when they searched Jackson’s room at his lodgings, but when his landlady subsequently searched her own part of the house she found a bloodstained revolver and the rest of Mrs. Oliver’s jewellery. She had given Jackson an alibi, and when she was asked why she had lied she told the inquest jury that she considered it her duty to oblige her lodger.

Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Bower was criticised for failing to arrest Jackson before he took strychnine, but the inquest jury exonerated the detective. After all, Jackson’s suicide had saved society the expense of a trial and execution.