Killers often tell unlikely stories, and Lee Kuns was downright incredible. The 27-year-old Chinese seaman had been living with Clara Thomas in Poplar, east London. Then they had split up and Clara had moved a few doors away to live with her friend Harriet Wheaton.
On OCTOBER 16th, 1915, she and Harriet were in their front-room when Lee Kun arrived and asked Clara if he could have a word with her. Taking her by the arm, he led her into the back yard, and moments later Harriet heard the sounds of a scuffle. She went into the yard and saw Lee Kun stabbing Clara repeatedly with a large knife.
Grabbing a broom handle, Harriet beat him off with it. Then when he turned on her with the knife she kept him at bay long enough for her screams to summon help, and Lee Kun was arrested.
Clara died shortly afterwards from her injuries, and Lee Kun told the police that she had borrowed money from him and refused to repay it. When he took her into the yard to remonstrate with her, he said, she suddenly produced the knife and tried to stab herself. He attempted to stop her, he claimed, and she received her stab wounds in the ensuing struggle.
Charged with her murder, he was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey, and hanged at Pentonville Prison on January 1st, 1916.