Reginald Ivor Hinks was an incorrigible rogue. He was in his early 30s by the time he moved from London to Bath in 1932, and he had been dismissed from job after job, thrown out of the army and became known to the police as a petty criminal.
In the following year, however, he seemed to be reforming. He became a Hoover salesman, and soon afterwards he met Constance Anne Jeffries, a divorcee who lived with her senile father James Pullen and her five-year-old daughter.
Within months Hinks and Constance were married, Hinks moving into Constances Milton Avenue home. But he had more than marriage in mind. He had learned that Constance had a £2,000 inheritance, and her 85-year-old father was wealthy.
Hinks soon embezzled nearly £1,000 of the old mans savings. He also moved the family to a smaller house in Englishcombe Lane and sacked the nurse who looked after Mr. Pullen.
He then took the old man for long walks, abandoning him in Baths busy city centre. And when Mr. Pullen failed to get run over or succumb to the cold, Hinks tried other measures to get rid of him. On November 30th, 1933, he phoned for an ambulance. He had gone downstairs for clean towels while his father-in-law had a bath, he said, and he had returned to the bathroom to find that Mr. Pullen had slipped under the water. But when the ambulance men arrived they found the confused old man sitting up in the bath and looking no worse for his immersion.
The next day, DECEMBER 1st, an ambulance was again called to the house. This time Mr. Pullen lay dead on the kitchen floor, having apparently gassed himself. Hinks told the doctor that he would probably find a bruise on the back of Mr. Pullens head. He said he might have caused this himself when he pulled the old man out of the oven, Mr. Pullens head having bumped on the floor.
The doctor was suspicious, and so were the ambulance men and the police. Despite his senile dementia, Mr. Pullen had apparently had the forethought to drape an overcoat over the oven so as to gas himself more effectively. An autopsy found that he had received the bump on his head before he inhaled the gas, and Hinks was charged with murder.
At his Old Bailey trial the prosecution told the jury that he had struck the old man, pushed his head in the oven, covered the stove with the coat and turned on the gas. Hinks denied the charges but the jury found him guilty, and he was executed at Bristol Prison on May 3rd, 1934.