Percy Bushby was a 55-year-old invalid who lived alone in King Edward Road, Barking, above his little shop where he bought, sold and repaired watches.

Around 9.30 p.m. on November 14th, 1947, a woman neighbour heard a noise next door. It began with what sounded like a scream, and then became a low moan. As she hurried round to investigate, the neighbour saw a young man leave the shop. She went in, found Mr. Bushby lying strangled on the floor, and called the police.

His wallet lay empty on a table, indicating that the killer’s motive was robbery, and the next day a local criminal, 21-year-old Walter John Cross, was arrested.

He said that he and another man had arranged to rob the shop, but his accomplice didn’t turn up so he decided to do the job by himself. He entered the premises using a key the other man had given him, and saw Mr. Bushby coming towards him. “The old man shouted,” Cross said, “and then he simply fell to the floor.”

He emptied the shopkeeper’s wallet, Cross told the police, and left without touching Mr. Bushby. If the old man had been strangled, he claimed, someone else must have entered the shop afterwards and killed him.

To nobody’s surprise, the Old Bailey jury at his three-day murder trial rejected his story. They found him guilty, his appeal was dismissed, and on FEBRUARY 19th, 1948, he was executed at Pentonville Prison, London, by Albert Pierrepoint and Harry B. Allen.