A teenage couple walking past a night watchman’s hut near Digby Road, Hackney, London, heard the watchman cry out, “Oh, please don’t touch me again!” But they took no notice because they thought the old man was asleep and having a nightmare.

Next day, Sunday, September 1st, 1957, Charles Cutler, 68, was found murdered in his hut, suffocated by a gag in his mouth, his hands and feet tied with string. The hut had been ransacked and the phone line cut. People on the council estate remembered hearing the old man screaming in the middle of the night, but turned over and went back to sleep. They too imagined that the night watchman was dreaming.

All the local kids knew and liked Charles Cutler, despite his reputation for sleeping on the job. The police thought the motive was robbery, because people had been told erroneously that the old man was guarding large amounts of cash for the builders for whom he was working.