Behind his veneer of respectability, Arthur Goslett was a thief, a bigamist, a suspected German secret agent, and ultimately, a murderer.

A South African-born engineer, he arrived in England in 1914, and in June that year he married Evelyn Mear. It was on joining the Royal Naval Air Service at the outbreak of war that he was suspected of being an enemy spy, but he convinced the authorities that their suspicions were groundless, and soon afterwards he was promoted.

In February 1919, under the name of Arthur Godfrey, he went through a form of marriage with a woman named Daisy Holt, who was shocked a few months later when he confessed he already had a wife. Nevertheless, Daisy agreed to move in with him and Evelyn at their Golders Green flat, pretending to be the widow of Goslett’s brother Percy. Evelyn was more than happy to accept her as her sister-in-law, and in September 1919 Daisy gave birth to Goslett’s child.

Four months later Goslett “married” a third time, and when his latest wife became pregnant he found his life was becoming too complicated. One of his wives had to go, and as Evelyn was the oldest and no longer attracted him, she was the one he decided to dispense with.

On May 1st, 1920, he set out with her to inspect a house near the River Brent at Hendon. As they walked along the riverbank, he hit Evelyn on the head with a tyre lever and threw her into the water. Her body was found the next morning, and within 24 hours Goslett was arrested.

“I was induced to do it by Daisy Holt,” he told the police. “I had intended to do it on a previous night this week, but my heart failed me. I killed the best woman. I am going to have the rope.”

Daisy had threatened to go to the police and have him charged with bigamy, he said, if he did not carry out the murder. At his trial, however, the court was told there was no truth in his allegations against her.

For the defence, Sir Henry Curtis Bennett produced evidence that in 1913 Goslett had been involved in an aircraft crash which left him unconscious for two days. This, Sir Henry claimed, was the cause of his client’s severe mental disturbance.

In his summing-up, however, Mr. Justice Shearman reminded the jury: “You are not considering whether the prisoner is eccentric or abnormal, but whether he is mad. I have never heard of a murderer who was normal, and it is well for society that it is so.”

On JUNE 22nd Goslett, 44, was found guilty, and on July 17th, 1920, he was hanged by John Ellis and Edward Taylor.