The rake was a popular figure of Victorian culture, and George Smith was the perfect rake. His father, thrifty and hard-working, was a successful property developer in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, but George, 20, preferred drink and loose women, whom he generally picked up at the local theatre.

In May 1861, one of his dark ladies claimed she was pregnant by him. George’s friends tried to “persuade” her to drop her claim, but when she stuck to her guns he vowed dramatically that he would flee to France. He got as far as Leicestershire, stayed there two days, and returned to Ilkeston.

Throughout this charade he nursed increasing hatred against his father for not giving him enough money. One night he got very drunk, and when he returned home and found his father dozing by the fire he started an argument. Then he pulled out a pistol he had bought in Nottingham and shot his father dead.

On Friday, August 16th, 1861, a crowd said to be in excess of 50,000, many of them travelling in special trains, arrived outside Derby Prison to see the rake hanged. They witnessed a terrible execution – George Smith took 10 minutes to be strangled to death.