The West Indies answer to the formidable England cricket team that included Wally Hammond, Leslie Ames and R.E.S. Wyatt in the 1930s was a heavy-set, ferociously fast bowler named Leslie Hylton.
He took three wickets for eight runs against England in 1935 and by the end of that Test series he had captured 13 wickets for just over 19 runs each. But after that he had no great impact on Test cricket and his career went into decline.
Hylton left it until he was 37 to get married, a move that turned out to be disastrous. Lurline, his wife, went to the US to learn dressmaking, and while she was there Hylton was told she was having an affair with a well-known womaniser named Roy Francis. When Lurline, 40, returned to her matrimonial home in Jamaica Hylton quizzed her and she eventually confessed.
Im in love with Roy, she said. My body belongs to him. For emphasis she pulled up her nightdress and displayed herself. Hylton picked up his revolver from the window-sill, shot her seven times, and phoned the police.
At his trial his counsel, Vivian Blake, produced a letter Lurline had written to Roy Francis. My beloved, it said, Im realising even more than I did before how much I love you. I am going to force my mans hand as soon as I can. Such provocation, argued Mr. Blake, was sufficient to cause a reasonable man to lose his self-control and shoot his wife in a fit of passion.
If the jury had agreed with that view, as they might have done today, the verdict would have been manslaughter. As it was they found Hylton guilty of murder, adding a strong recommendation for mercy. The cricketing idol of the Windies was hanged at Jamaicas St. Catherines Prison on Tuesday, May 17th, 1955, after being received into the Roman Catholic church while in the death cell.