Villagers at Breedon-on-the Hill in Leicestershire looked up in surprise when James Banton, a local man, came running along the high street waving a stick and shouting, “I just killed a bobby!”

He had, too. When he sobered up he told detectives all about it. He explained that the police had caught him and a friend poaching six months previously, and they had gone out for a few drinks, and decided to go down to the police station and retrieve their nets, which had been confiscated.

On the way they met PC Thomas Barrett, 35, one of the officers who had caught them. Banton picked a fight and in the struggle beat the officer to death with his own baton. “I expect I’ll be hanged for it,” he added.

Three months later Banton and his accomplice were tried for murder. The judge directed that the accomplice should be acquitted because he had left the scene before the attack on the policeman. Banton had guessed rightly – he was hanged on Tuesday, November 30th, 1886, at Leicester Prison.