Putting out some rubbish at her York home at 11 p.m. on JANUARY 27th, 1951, 72-year-old Walter Wyld’s neighbour Mrs. Eva Clark thought it odd that his kitchen light was on, and his curtains drawn—he invariably left them open. When she had seen no sign of him by lunchtime the next day, and saw that his kitchen curtains were still drawn, she summoned other neighbours. One of them found a key that fitted Mr. Wyld’s front door, and they entered his house to find him lying dead on the kitchen floor, a bloodstained cushion covering his face.

He had been stabbed repeatedly, and as there was no sign of forced entry it seemed that he had known his killer and had admitted him. A letter found amongst his correspondence revealed that he had expected a visit from 32-year-old John Dand, an ex-soldier who was the son of a former neighbour.

Questioning Dand, detectives noted that he chain-smoked throughout the interview, but his fingers were not stained by nicotine. He was found to owe money to several people, including Mr. Wyld who had been pressing him for repayment.

When Dand’s account of his movements on the night of the murder was proved to be untrue, he changed his story and claimed he had been with a woman whose name he didn’t know. Then he said, “I admit that we had a row about money. It was an accident and I left him there.” Minutes later, however, he changed his story again, saying: “I now deny going to Walter Wyld’s house on the Saturday night he was murdered.”

At his trial the jury decided he was lying. Convicted and sentenced to death, he went to the gallows at Manchester’s Strangeways Prison.