On the morning of NOVEMBER 8th, 1908, passers-by in London’s Shaftesbury Avenue were startled when a shot rang out, there was a cry of agony, and a heavy paperweight crashed out through the plate-glass window of a banker’s office.

Seconds later, a man ran from the building. A passing cabman, George Carter, confronted him, only to be stabbed in the hand as he tried to stop him. Police Constable Howe was stabbed in the shoulder as he seized the man, who was then overpowered and held by several men who rushed to help the injured officer.

In an apparent attempted robbery, John Esmond McDonald, 24, also known as John Murphy, had walked into the office of Frederick Schlitte, a 47-year-old banker, shooting him in the chest with a revolver before stabbing him several times in the back and abdomen. To attract attention, Mr. Schlitte had hurled his paperweight through the window, and McDonald had fled empty-handed.

The banker died a few hours later, after identifying McDonald as his assailant when the prisoner was brought to his hospital bedside. “He fired at me without my saying or doing anything to him,” Mr. Schlitte said in his death-bed deposition. “I don’t remember seeing him before. I also received six or seven stabs with a knife.”

At his Old Bailey trial, McDonald’s plea of insanity was rejected by the jury. He was convicted and sentenced to death, and on January 6th, 1909, he was hanged at London’s Pentonville Prison.