With the police severely undermanned, criminals in wartime London could flourish – and their crimes had to be viewed in the perspective of what was happening elsewhere on the war fronts. For instance, Mrs. Edith Humphreys, a 48-year-old widow, was found murdered in her bed on the same day – Friday, October 17th, 1941 – that the War Office announced that the total number of soldiers killed in action had so far reached 100,000.

She lived on the ground floor of a house in Gloucester Crescent and her killing was seemingly pointless – she was neither robbed nor sexually assaulted. Her killer used incredible violence, breaking her jaw in several places, stabbing her through the head, and attempting to strangle her.