William John Cronin already had a grim record, and it was to get worse. A coal-heaver at London docks, he had a history of violence and drunkenness, and in 1897 he had been jailed for seven years after he used a spade to kill the 10-month-old child of a man who refused to down tools during a strike.

Cronin’s ill-treated wife left him, and her successor, his 40-year-old common-law wife Alice Garrett, fared no better. Then on JUNE 14th, 1925, he accused her of seeing other men and cut her throat with a razor, which he then used to threaten neighbours who grabbed and overpowered him.

Convicted of Alice’s murder, the 55-year-old killer was refused leave to appeal and went to the gallows.