Alec d’Antiquis had his own motorcycle repair business. Together with his wife and six children, motorbikes were his life. But his own machine looked forlorn on the afternoon of APRIL 29th, 1947. It lay on its side in Charlotte Street in London’s Soho. He lay dying on the ground nearby, shot down by armed raiders whose escape he had tried to block. He had swung his motorbike across their path, waving his arm and shouting at them.

The three young men had guns and had just stolen a Vauxhall. While the getaway driver of the trio remained in the car, the other two entered a jeweller’s, the lower part of their faces masked by scarves.

“This is a stick-up!” one of them told the manager. “Get back and keep quiet.”

Ernest Stock looked up to see two guns levelled at him. One of the raiders grabbed a tray of rings. Mr. Stock moved forward to stop him and was clubbed on the head with a revolver. A shot rang out, and then a stool flew across the shop at the raiders, hurled by Stock’s assistant who also activated the burglar alarm.

Unnerved, the raiders fled to the stolen Vauxhall. Stupidly, their driver had switched off the engine. He couldn’t restart it, and they jumped out as Mr. Stock staggered out of the shop in pursuit and collapsed on the pavement. The raiders dashed across the street.

It was at that moment that d’Antiquis arrived on the scene, took in the situation at a glance and tried to impede the raiders, only to be shot in the head.

The raiders vanished, but a taxi driver told police he had seen two masked men enter Brook House in nearby Tottenham Court Road. Searching the building, police found a dumped raincoat and a scarf folded into a mask-like triangle. The raincoat was traced to Charles Henry Jenkins, a 23-year-old known criminal.

Two of his known associates were rounded-up: Christopher James Geraghty, 21, and Terence Peter Rolt, 17. Geraghty was first to talk, followed by Rolt whose confession implicated Jenkins.

On September 19th, 1947, Jenkins and Geraghty were hanged at Pentonville Prison. Rolt, too young to qualify for the death penalty, was detained during His Majesty’s pleasure and released in 1956.