A pair of burglars charged with murder caused mayhem in the dock at Hereford Assizes when one of them tried to strangle the other as the verdict was being announced.

Alfred Scandrett attempted to kill James Jones, his partner in crime, in the dock because he was convinced that without Jones as his accomplice he would have got away with it.

The two 23-year-olds burgled the home of Philip Ballard, 85, at Tupsley, Hereford, in October 1887, and beat him with an axe so severely that he died four days later.

“I had no idea my mate intended to hit the old man with his axe,” Jones protested to the police when he was arrested. And Scandrett said: “I had no idea Jones was going to use an axe on the old man.”

In the death cell Scandrett confessed to being the one who murdered the old man, adding that he tried to kill Jones in court because he was certain that if he had been alone on the burglary he wouldn’t have been caught.

The two men were hanged together on Tuesday, March 20th, 1888, at Hereford Prison.