In October 1922 Francis Hector Theodore Nayler, a former army lieutenant, emigrated with his wife and children to Australia, where he found work at a cotton mill and his wife opened a shop. But it didn’t work out, and a year later they returned to England to stay with Mrs. Nayler’s parents at their home in Pelham, Kent.
That didn’t work out either. Nayler, 27, didn’t get on with his mother-in-law who dominated his wife, and after a series of quarrels Mrs. Nayler told him on NOVEMBER 6th, 1923, that she was going to leave him. Shortly afterwards he was seen with a gun, which his mother-in-law took and hid in the loft, but Nayler found it the next day and retrieved it. He was later to say that he was sitting contemplating suicide, and when his father-in-law asked what he was doing, he shot him.
At his trial for his father-in-law’s murder, Nayler pleaded insanity, but he was found guilty and sentenced to death. The jury did not recommend mercy, but Nayler’s previous good character was brought to the Home Secretary’s attention, and Nayler’s wife went to the Home Office to plead for his life on the ground of provocation. As a result his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and he was released 15 years later.