Hangman William Marwood caused a sensation in Dumbarton when after hanging a prisoner outside the local prison on Tuesday, October 19th, 1875, he submitted his expenses to the local council. He claimed for a dozen bottles of beer, two bottles of whisky and brandy, a bottle of sherry, and a bottle of port, most of which, he said, he drank on the morning of the execution.

On the scaffold was a 56-year-old shoemaker, David Wardlaw, who ended his 30-year long marriage by killing his wife Mary at their home in Bonhill, Dumbarton. Ironically in view of what followed, he pleaded provocation through being drunk – the court heard that the marriage had been one long argument from beginning to end, until he finally beat her to death with a hammer.