Married to a soldier who was a prisoner of war, Mrs. Pepper found life lonely at her home in Portslade, Sussex. She needed a man, so she took a Canadian sergeant as her lover. Then when he was recalled to Canada she replaced him with Private Charles Eugene Gauthier, a 25-year-old French-Canadian.

Two months later, however, the sergeant returned to Portslade to resume his relationship with his mistress, and this development inflamed Gauthier with jealousy.

On MARCH 15th, 1943, Mrs. Pepper asked Gauthier not to go to her house that evening, explaining that she wanted to discuss the situation with the sergeant. Gauthier said he would stay away, but broke his promise. He went to the house, leaving outside a machine-gun he had misappropriated because, as he was later to say, he had no intention of missing his target.

When Mrs. Pepper asked him to leave, saying she loved the sergeant, Gauthier reminded her that he had vowed he would kill her if she looked at another man. Then he went out and fetched the gun.

First he fired a few shots through the front door, slightly wounding the sergeant. Then he went round to the back of the house, calling to Mrs. Pepper to come out and promising he wouldn’t shoot her. But as she opened the door he pumped four bullets into her, killing her instantly.

At his trial Gauthier testified that Mrs. Pepper was pregnant and had told him he was the child’s father, thereby intensifying his jealousy. His counsel sought a verdict of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation, but the judge told the jury that the case was one of murder or nothing, and Gauthier was convicted and sentenced to death.

His appeal was dismissed, leave to appeal to the House of Lords was refused, and he was executed.