A day at a horse show in Newark, and an evening spent drinking in the village pub at Caunton, Nottinghamshire, was the curtain-raiser for 26-year-old labourer John Driver’s date with the scaffold. After leaving the pub he broke into the village grocery store, and robbed and strangled the owner, Mrs. Ann Hancock, 70. She was found next day naked on her bed, with a piece of linen jammed into her throat.

Driver was interviewed, and police found two watches and some silver stolen from the shop, as well as a heavy walking stick with grey hairs sticking to it, at his home.

He claimed he didn’t intend killing Mrs. Hancock, but the jury took just 30 seconds to decide that he did, and he was hanged on Wednesday, July 31st, 1839, outside Nottingham Prison.