Frederick William Reynolds was a 39-year-old Highbury, north London, bookmaker, and for about 10 years he had been the lover of Beatrice Greenburg who lived with her husband and son in a flat in Highbury’s Avenell Road.

On DECEMBER 17th, 1946, Reynolds went there with a revolver, shot Mrs. Greenburg four times, and tried unsuccessfully to shoot himself. When police arrived he said he was drunk and had shot a woman, and in a statement made later he said he and Beatrice had quarrelled about his having to discontinue an allowance he had been giving her.

At his Old Bailey trial for her murder the defence sought a manslaughter verdict, claiming that at the time of the shooting Reynolds was too drunk to be able to form the intent to kill required by law to prove murder.

But the evidence of the caretaker at the block of flats rebutted this, and so did the testimony of the police surgeon. The court heard that Reynolds had menaced Mrs. Greenburg in an effort to make her leave her husband, and he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Ironically, at his execution on March 26th, 1947, the hangmen – Albert Pierrepoint and Harry Kirk – were publicans. If Reynolds had drunk more and been able to prove it, they could have told him, he might have been spared the noose.