As often happened at the beginning of the 20th century, Richard Deering Dean, a labourer, left his wife and children in Birmingham and set off across the land to find a job. He didn’t find one, but he certainly had some strange adventures.

At Long Eaton he met a girl, Emily Lockwood, and told her he was a single man who had fallen head over heels in love with her. But that didn’t stop him roaming. He left Long Eaton and went on the road with a travelling show. Several months later, at Whitsun, 1907, he was back in Long Eaton again.

Emily and Dean, who now called himself Richard Deering, next went together to Sileby, then to Melton Mowbray. On JULY 24th they came to Edenham, Lincolnshire, where they decided to make a suicide pact. They sat down on the river bank together, swallowed oxide acid and walked into the river.

The pact, however, came unstuck. They crawled back to the river bank, where they were spotted. Emily, who had swallowed much more acid than Dean, died a few hours later. Dean was arrested and charged with murder.

At Lincoln Assizes the jury were told that Dean’s attempt at suicide was “bona fide but half-hearted,” and he was corresponding “on the most affectionate terms” with two other girls. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death, but later reprieved and sent to prison for life.