Investigating the theft of a pair of trousers from a pawnbroker’s shop in Wandsworth High Street, London, Constable William Gardner had a suspect in mind – Daniel Good, a coachman at a large house called Putney Park. The officer went to the house, searched the stables and instead of finding the missing trousers he found the dead body of a woman.

As he turned in alarm to question Good, the constable heard the key click in the lock of the stable door. Good had locked him in with the body of his girl friend, Jane Jones, whom he had beaten to death with an axe because she was pregnant. Her body had been stripped, its head, legs and arms cut off, and stomach ripped open.

When Constable Gardner was freed from the stable, nine divisions of the Metropolitan Police became involved in the chase for Daniel Good. He was followed from Spitalfields to Deptford and then to Bromley, but he was always a day ahead of his pursuers. Two weeks later he was traced to Tonbridge in Kent, where he was working as a bricklayer’s labourer. One of his workmates, a former police officer, recognised him and told the police.

Good was found guilty of murder and hanged on Monday, May 23rd, 1842, outside Newgate Prison. As a result of his protracted escape, the Metropolitan Police set up its “detective branch” in August that year, to improve efficiency in catching suspects.