When four men and two women began dancing on Rutherglen Bridge, Glasgow, on May Day 1875, it ended in a dance of death. They had all been drinking heavily and as the excitement grew another man, John Miller, a 21-year-old miner, climbed on to a wall to watch them.
Something Miler said apparently annoyed one of the male dancers, Patrick Docherty, also 21, and Miller and Docherty began to snarl at each other. Docherty picked up a hoe and smashed it over Millers head. He died later from the injury.
Docherty was tried at Glasgow Circuit New Court, where the prosecution claimed it was a deliberate act of murder and the defence argued that it was a blow struck merely on impulse. He was convicted and, despite a recommendation for mercy, hanged on Tuesday, October 5th, 1875, at Glasgows Duke Street Prison the first execution to be held there.