Investigating a burglary on a farm near Romford, Essex, Inspector Thomas Simmons, 38, and a constable noticed three men they recognised as burglars, casing an isolated house. When the trio – James Lee, 40, David Dredge, 52, and James Martin – saw the officers they hid in a hedge.

As the officers strode forward to challenge them, shots rang out. The inspector fell, seriously wounded, and died four days later. Lee and Dredge were caught and tried at the Old Bailey. Dredge admitted being present but said he wasn’t in league with the other two, and was acquitted. Lee was found guilty of murder and hanged on Monday, MAY 18th, 1885, at Chelmsford Prison.

James Martin wasn’t brought to trial, but he was hanged in the following October with two other men for the murder of another policeman at Netherby Hall.