When Constable Alfred Austwick was called to a disturbance at a house in Dodworth, Barnsley, the homeowner, James Murphy, opened the door. Ah! Youre just the one I want, Murphy shouted at the officer. Just wait here a moment, will you? He went off, returned with a loaded shotgun, and shot the policeman dead on the doorstep.
It was a grudge killing. Four months earlier Murphy, a 30-year-old miner, had been arrested by PC Austwick, charged with drunkenness, and fined. He had sworn to his friends that he would get his revenge.
He went on the run after the shooting and was at large for six weeks. Tried at York Assizes, he claimed he hadnt intended to kill the policeman, but he had been drinking. As hangman James Berry adjusted the noose on the scaffold at York Prison on Monday, November 29th, 1886, Murphy told him: Put it right, old boy, and dont be nervous.