A strong smell of gas prompted patrolling bobby Police Constable Watts to investigate a cheesemonger’s shop in Bayswater, London, on the night of Wednesday, July 28th, 1926. The smell was coming from the grating of the cellar below the shop. Constable Watts shone his torch down through the grating and into his beam of light came a man’s foot, protruding from the cellar stairway.

Helped by another officer, Watts forced the shop door. Halfway down the cellar stairs, on his back, lay the body of Edwin Creed, the shop owner. His face, head and left arm were covered with blood and he had been beaten with some heavy weapon.

Marks in the sawdust on the floor suggested that “this man of kindly and quiet life” as the coroner was later to call him, was murdered in the shop before his body was dragged along the floor and tossed down the cellar stairs. The gas jets in the cellar had been turned on and left unlit for no apparent reason.

As police reconstructed the crime Mr. Creed, having removed his jacket and rolled up his shirtsleeves, was preparing to wash his hands before going home when there was a knock at the shop door. Leaving his towel draped over the banisters of the cellar stairs, he went to answer it and found his murderer on the doorstep. He let the man in and was savagely attacked.

After his retirement the coroner wrote a newspaper article in which he described the crime as “a perfect murder.”