Alfred Highfield’s six-year courtship of 19-year-old Edith Poole seemed about to reach a successful conclusion. Their wedding was planned for August 1900, but things went wrong on Easter Monday, with a quarrel which Edith refused to make up despite Alfred’s apologies for offending her.

Edith’s brother then assumed the role of peacemaker, inviting Alfred to have tea with the family at their home in London on May 13th. Edith was present, and Alfred made another appeal to her to resume their relationship, only to be told that it was all over.

After tea the Pooles went out for a stroll, Alfred trailing behind them with Edith. They were near Lincoln’s Inn Fields, walking down Great Queen Street, when there was a cry and the Pooles turned round to see Alfred kneeling over Edith who lay on the ground. Her throat had been slashed, and she died in hospital nine days later, on MAY 22nd.

At his trial Highfield, a 22-year-old brewery worker, admitted manslaughter but denied murder. His counsel said that when his client made one last bid to persuade Edith to resume their courtship, and she refused, he produced a razor intending to commit suicide. Edith tried to stop him, and her throat was cut accidentally in their struggle.

The jury didn’t believe this. They found Alfred Highfield guilty of murder, and he was hanged at Newgate Prison two months after the death of his sweetheart.