Cycling postman James McCann’s big day of the week was Thursday, when he carried the sealed bag containing pensions money from Toome to Crosskeys in County Antrim – four and a half miles on his bike.

But when at 9.45 there was no sign of him at Crosskeys on pensions day, May 16th, 1929, the postmistress there called the police.

In less than an hour later a farmer found McCann’s body lying in a pool of blood in a lane at Millquarters, half a mile from the postman’s Crosskeys destination. He had been shot in the throat with a shotgun, and the pensions money was missing.

A post-mortem revealed that the postman had been drinking just before he died. It was supposed that someone stopped him, offered him a drink, then shot him.

A police check on local labourers who owned shotguns revealed that Samuel Cushnan, 26, had one which, surprisingly, had no barrel. Asked why, Cushnan said the barrel must have been stolen.

Other clues suggested Cushnan was the murderer, but by the time he came to trial the entire prosecution case still rested only upon circumstantial evidence. When the jury at Derry Assizes on DECEMBER 3rd announced they were deadlocked, with no hope of an agreement, a second trial was ordered.

The new jury found him guilty after only an hour’s deliberation and on April 7th, 1930, Samuel Cushnan was duly hanged at Crumlin Road Prison.