On a cold January night at the end of his beat Constable William Davey, 43, heard muffled voices, went to investigate and recognised the thieves at once. They were two brothers, Joseph and Isaac Brooks, both well known to the police, and they were stealing timber from a building site.

The culprits fled before Davey could arrest them, but they knew he would report the crime and they knew where he lived. A few hours later Joseph Brooks, 23, knocked on his door and when he opened it Brooks drew a single-barrelled rifle from under his coat, opened fire, and blew off the constable’s head.

Both brothers were tried at the Old Bailey but on the judge’s direction Isaac, 25, was acquitted. On Monday, April 27th, 1863, Joseph Brooks was hanged outside Newgate Prison.