The rice pudding William Lefley ate at his home in Wrangle, Lincolnshire, in February 1884 proved to be his last – his wife Mary, 40, had soaked it in arsenic. Her motive, according to the prosecution at her trial, was no more than a desire to be rid of him. But Mary claimed that “a mysterious stranger” had gone into the house and poisoned the pudding.

Hanged on Monday, May 26th, 1884, at Lincoln Prison she was hysterical with terror and had to be dragged to the gallows.

Curiously, she had been a friend of a woman named Priscilla Biggadyke, who was hanged, also for murder by arsenic, 14 years earlier. Even more curiously, a local man confessed on his deathbed many years later to have poisoned William Lefley’s rice pudding.