Being a lodging-house keeper in Victorian England wasn’t the safest of jobs – witness Thomas Earlham, 64, and his lady friend Mary Mohan, 62, who kept a lodging-house and pub at Smallwood, just outside Congleton in Cheshire. On February 9th, 1883, there was consternation at Smallwood. Earlham and Mary Mohan were discovered in a pool of blood at their home, battered to death and robbed of their savings. A hammer lay beside the bodies.

The police soon learned that a tramp, Patrick Carey, 33, had been lodging at the couple’s house and was the last guest to leave on the morning of the double tragedy. He was seen making off carrying a large bundle containing some of the pub’s possessions.

Carey, a father of four, was arrested and tried at Chester Assizes in April 1883. He was hanged on Tuesday, May 8th, 1883, in Chester Prison; it was the last execution held in the city.