When Joe Duck, a retired builder, went to his local, the Kings Head, in Great Chesterfield Street, Marylebone, in the evening of March 10th, 1864, he made the mistake of producing two gold sovereigns and showing them to other customers. The eyes of John Devine, 24, a local beggar, glinted. He had once been employed by Joe Duck and had been sacked for his laziness. Now he wanted those sovereigns at any price.
When the pub closed Mr. Duck, slightly drunk, began his short walk home. Suddenly Devine sprang out of the darkness, and beat him about the head with a hammer. The old builder died a few hours later in hospital.
Devine was caught the next day and convicted at the Old Bailey the following month. He pleaded that he intended only to rob and not to murder, but was hanged outside Newgate Prison on Monday, May 2nd, 1864 by William Calcraft.