Angelo di Lucia, a 30-year-old married Italian, was running an ice cream business in Sligo, Ireland, when his roving eye fell on pretty 17-year-old Jane Reynolds, nanny to his two children.

Their affair when it started in June, 1914, was passionate, hot-blooded stuff. Only the presence of Rosa di Lucia, Angelo’s wife, who had just given birth to her third child, spoiled things.

But when Rosa was found dead on her bedroom floor on DECEMBER 8th that year the Gardai decided that the lust of Angelo and Jane had driven them both to kill her – and both were arrested for murder. The proceedings, though, had to be delayed because Jane was pregnant. Angelo, she declared, was the father of her baby.

They were tried separately. Jane, who was first in the dock, was reported to have told police:

“Angelo said to me, ‘Jane, my wife’s head is gone, will you kill her for me?’ I said I could not do the likes without someone to help me. He said, ‘I’ll help you if you start it. I’ll tell you what to do. You go and get a noggin of whiskey and it will give you great courage and you will be like a devil, you will be that strong, and I will marry you when it’s done.”

Subsequently she tried to kill Rosa with a hammer, but Rosa was getting the better of the struggle when Angelo ran in.

“He said, ‘You’ll never do it.’ He caught his wife by the nose and killed her. I was vomiting while he was killing her.”

When the jury returned a guilty verdict and Jane was sentenced to death she cried hysterically, “Oh, I did not do it, my lord! He killed his wife! My lord, don’t hang me! I have a little child!”

Next day Angelo di Lucia was also convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

Jane Reynolds’s death sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment. Three years later she was released on condition that she enter a convent. Angelo di Lucia was also reprieved – no doubt owing his life to the fact that it would have been perverse to reprieve one and not the other. He served 11 years, and on his release in 1927 was deported to Italy.