Barking out orders to his staff, Bolesar Pankovski was the domineering head chef at the Bellometti restaurant in London’s Soho Square, everyone in his kitchen living in fear of him, with one exception.

This was Varnavas Loizi Antorka, a 31-year-old Greek Cypriot employed as a silver-washer. He was said to be quiet and inoffensive, but such men can have their sticking-point. On MAY 12th, 1933, he objected to one of Pankovski’s orders, and the chef sacked him.

So Antorka went to his lodgings, returned with a revolver and shot him. The chef died the following morning, and at Antorka’s trial the defence claimed he took the revolver only to threaten Pankovski and it went off accidentally during a struggle.

In convicting Antorka of wilful murder, the Old Bailey jury recommended mercy. Mr. Justice Humphreys sentenced him to death, and in dismissing Antorka’s appeal 
the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Hewart, said the jury’s recommendation would doubtless receive proper consideration.

Did he think Antorka deserved clemency? No, Lord Hewart replied when the Home Secretary asked him. His remark was not intended to be any indication that the recommendation had his support.

There was no reprieve and on August 10th, 1933, Antorka was hanged at Pentonville Prison.