When a jury in a murder trial found the defendant guilty of killing his wife but added a recommendation for mercy, Mr. Justice Field commented: “I hope it will be a long time before English juries adopt a system which I believe is prevalent in some other countries of appending to their verdict a recommendation for mercy on the mere suggestion of infidelity unsupported by evidence.”

From which you may gather that the learned judge was unhappy about the jury’s recommendation. Although they found Grimsby fisherman Richard Insole, 24, guilty of killing his 22-year-old wife Sarah Ann, they thought she was culpable of “bad behaviour.”

Sarah Ann had left Insole after domestic arguments to live at her parents’ home in January 1887. Insole bought a revolver, went to his in-laws’ house and shot at his wife. She threw up his hand and the shot missed. He fired again and she fell into a chair. He fired a third time and she fell on the floor. Thrusting her mother aside, he placed the revolver close to her heart and fired twice more. She died immediately.

The jury’s recommendation having been ignored, Insole was hanged on Monday, FEBRUARY 21st, 1887, at Lincoln Prison.