Percy and Maud Atkins always seemed to be having rows, and after eight years as Percy’s wife Maud decided she’d had enough. She left her children with her railway guard husband at their home in Derby, and went to live in Huntingdonshire with her parents.

Percy subsequently remarried bigamously, and there were no further developments until November 1921 when Maud returned to Derby seeking her eldest child’s custody.

On NOVEMBER 21st she and her husband went for a walk, heading for Percy’s allotment at Chaddesden. And that was the last that was seen of Maud until her body was found six weeks later, buried at her husband’s allotment. Her remains were too decomposed for doctors to be sure how she died, but they believed she had been strangled or knocked out and buried alive.

Charged with her murder, Percy Atkins, 29, said they had quarrelled during their walk, and Maud had thrown her wedding ring at him and rushed off. He claimed that after looking for the ring he went in search of Maud, and found her lying on some rocks, having apparently killed herself. Fearing that he would be blamed for her death, he had buried her in a hole he had already dug at his allotment for an apple tree.

It was an unlikely story, and at his trial the jury didn’t believe it. They found him guilty, and he was hanged at Bagthorpe Prison, Nottingham, on April 7th, 1922.